This isn't the first time someone has suggested Apple, which is known for simple design, abandon its front button. The idea is that Apple loves simplicity, so why not cut back on an unnecessary button?
Although I love the design of the new iPad, the bezeled edge seems a bit overkill for a company so obsessed with understatement. If Apple lopped off the home button, it would allow the company to make a device that was considerably smaller, without affecting the size of its beautiful screen.
How would a user get by without a home button? Right now you can take all five fingers and pinch inward to get to the home screen. If you need to get the tray of most recently used apps, then you can use four fingers to swipe up.
It's pretty easy, but it is not intuitive. And that's the problem.
John Gruber at Daring Fireball explained the problems with eliminating the home button in January 2011:
The physical Home button is impossible to miss. That it is the one and only button on the faces of these devices is a big part of why normal people are able to pick them up, start playing with them, and figure out how to get around with no help. How in the world would a normal person figure out or guess that they need to do a “five-finger pinch” to get back to the home screen?
On a personal level, I just spent the weekend helping my mother and her friend set up new iPads. If there was no home button, it would have been a disaster. The iPad would seem much too foreign and complicated.
In this case, the home button is for the best. Simpler is not always better.
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