Apple has began placing orders for key components for next year’s iPhone 7, giving eager tech-watchers some early clues as to what to expect from a device which is still 10 months away from launch.
According to reports, the Cupertino-based company has asked Synaptics, the same company which apparently supplied its drivers for previous iPhones, to fulfil orders for LCD display drivers for the 2016 flagship device.
LCD display drivers are circuits that connect an operating system with a device's hardware.
While Apple's order in itself may not seem a big deal, it is in the sense that it pours cold water on claims that the next-gen iPhone will be the first to ditch a physical home button.
This would represent a huge change in approach, given that the home button has been a key feature of every iPhone since 2007.
Talk that the physical home button's days were numbered stemmed from reports that Apple is working on its own touch and display driver integration (TDDI) chip, which would allow it to opt for a so-called 'virtual' home button that would be located within the screen.
Apple has already filed patents for a touchscreen that could integrate a home button but still offer the same functionality as current iPhones. When we’ll see such a device, though, remains unclear.
The iPhone 7 has been mooted for late 2016, with a new, super-slim design and beefed up features.