Apple's obsession with removing physical buttons could continue. BGR is reporting that it's received an exclusive tip from one of its trusted Apple insiders that the Cupertino-based company is testing next-gen iPads and iPhones that do not have home buttons.
Think of it like how the original Palm Pre lost its nub button when the Palm Pre Plus came out. Instead, multi-finger gestures could replace the home button entirely, as evidenced in last night's iOS 4.3 beta software update. The iOS 4.3 beta release brought five-finger pinching to go back the home screen and four-finger swiping to the left and right to switch apps.
From what we noticed, iOS 4.3 beta's new iPad update is much more intuitive, seeing as how double-clicking, and long holding the iPad's home button to trigger actions becomes tedious after a while. The iPhone 4 hasn't received any update for gestures, but that could just be a hardware limitation or Apple could be waiting to release gestures as a separate update after the next-gen iPhone comes out.
Regardless, Apple can streamline its hardware however it wants, as long as it doesn't make things more complicated, customers will be happy. Besides, removing the home button is naturally the next step for Apple — when the hell are we getting touch-sensitive bezels on iOS devices hmm?