Too many easy puns for this one

Apparently you really can’t go home again — new revisions of the iPad and iPhone are due to lose the home button:

We have exclusively been told that the reason Apple just added multitouch gestures for the iPad in the latest iOS 4.3 beta is because the iPad will be losing the home button. Yes, we are told that Apple, at some point in time, will remove the home button from the iPad’s design. Instead of button taps, you will use new multitouch gestures to navigate to the home screen and also to launch the app switcher.

Apple have made major physical interface changes before — I’m thinking specifically of the introduction of the touch wheel on the classic iPod — but this one strikes me as a particularly bad idea. Multi-touch gestures can be incredibly useful, to be sure; there’s enough potential there to create an entire physical language for human-computer interaction. But like a language, they’re not at all intuitive. As I’ve noted previously, intuitive usability is not just a tremendous advantage for the iPad and its potentially non-techie users, it’s something that Apple has explicitly used as a selling point. Adding multi-touch adds functionality, but adding multi-touch while removing the home button may just add unnecessary complexity.

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