Rumor: Forthcoming iPhone 5S May Use Sapphire Crystal for Home Button

Although there had been rumors of a June announcement and July launch of the next iPhone, it increasingly seems likely it will arrive in September. And one of the more interesting details to emerge in recent days is that it may have a sapphire crystal home button. It won't be a physical button, as in current iPhones, but will be capacitive touch just like the display. According to Cult of Mac, which is reporting this tidbit based on its sources in the supply chain, the physical home button is the component most likely to fail on an iPhone, so using a capacitive touch button will make the phone more reliable. Why sapphire crystal? It's one of the hardest materials, second only to diamond. That means its unlikely to get scratched. The same material is used for the camera lens on the iPhone 5, so it won't get scratched and spoil your photos. And what difference would it make if the home button were scratched? Well, according to various rumors, the forthcoming iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint sensor in the home button, and scratches could reduce its sensitivity. These rumors seem reliable, in that last year Apple purchased AuthenTec, a company that specializes in fingerprint sensor technology. 

Other Rumored Features

What else might we see in the new phone? Many rumors have suggested an upgrade to the camera and to the processor. That seems obvious, though. Other rumors have said that it will come in multiple colors. Siri will likely be taken to a new level. And most rumors are agreed that the form factor will stay the same, and only the internal components will change.

Liquid Metal Casing may be Coming

Also reported in recent days was a job posting by Apple for an engineer with experience working with liquid metal technology. You can read more on Softpedia. Apple is known to have done a deal with a company by the name of Liquidmetal, and has obviously been exploring how to integrate this technology into its devices. According to an article in Forbes, liquid metal would feel liquid to the touch (which I can't quite imagine) and would be twice as strong as titanium, while also being very light. It would be virtually impossible to scratch.

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Since Apple is just now searching for an engineer with specialized knowledge in this area, it seems unlikely that we'll see this technology in a phone this year. It is more likely that we'll see it in the iPhone 6 next year.

It's amazing to see how Apple always focuses on quality and reliability. Instead of trying to emulate Samsung and introducing a variety of different models, Apple focuses on putting out the highest quality phone possible. That's one reason why Apple is always tops in surveys of customer satisfaction.

In-store iPhone Repair

And should your iPhone need repair, another recent rumor said that beginning later this year, Apple will start repairing iPhones in local Apple Stores. Instead of sending it in for a replacement phone, you'll have the option of taking it to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store and getting it fixed on the spot.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.