March 1, 2012
Ever since Apple began sending out invitations to the company’s iPad event earlier this week, the blogosphere has been in a lather on whether the third-generation tablet would include a physical home button like each of its predecessors. The reason for the chatter was Apple’s invitation included a photo of what looked like an iPad 3 without a visible button, which would obviously be big news. Now, there is more “news” to report on this issue. Repair Labs has published what it calls “exclusive” photos of an iPad 3 digitizer. As the photos suggest, the tablet home button isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it will be located in the exact same location as on the iPad and iPad 2. Does this really matter? Probably not. Apple has the final say on whether the iPad 3 includes a visible home button, or not. Until then, unfortunately, we can only speculate as we always do before an Apple event. Remember what happened just before the iPhone 4S was announced last fall. At the time, most of those “in the know” expected an iPhone 5 that looked entirely different than the iPhone 4. In the end, that wasn't the case. The only thing we have going for us in discussing the iPad 3 home button issue is the photo provided by Apple. In contrast, the ones from Repair Labs (and from other third-party groups that will surely pop up between now and next Wednesday) can’t be authenticated. That being said, Apple’s official photo only tells us one truth and that is no home button exists on the side of the iPad 3 that we see. In other words, if the photo is indeed of the tablet in portrait view, a physical home button is missing. If, instead, the photo represents the iPad 3 in horizontal view, all bets are off. Regardless, one thing is for sure. Apple will answer all of our questions next week in San Francisco. Thereafter, we can begin discussing the iPad 4 and the iPhone 5, which will almost certainly look different than the iPhone 4S, right? As a reminder, Apple's iPad event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on Wednesday, March 7 at 10 a.m. PST. For more information on what the new tablet might include, please check our previous report.