Some of the finer things in life just need time. While well-intentioned tech critics quickly dismissed the haptic home button on the iPhone 7 — according to the Verge, “it’s awful…a new kind of bad haptics” — it’s grown on me, a sort of subtle Apple engineering trick whose nuance slowly reveals itself.
So, yes, this iPhone 7 Plus has a dual camera with Portrait Mode, a faster Siri and no headphone jack. But my lingering obsession is that little haptic button. To get the full sensation, shut down the iPhone. While it’s powering down, continue to press the home button. It’ll “depress” and vibrate until the phone is off, then the button goes still and stiff. No movement. Because it never moved to begin with.
This “solid state button” registers touch and pulses out at you, all while not actually moving (the solid state nature also contributes to the phone’s water resistance). The small circular depression helps with the visual of the trick, and as much as I tell myself to not believe that button is really, truly moving — I still subconsciously believe it is. That’s the fun of magic.
The button’s not perfect; at times I get a dull, no-buzz reply from my mandible impression, and there’s only so much to be excited about with a buzz, anyway. I’d happily ditch this for a full display like on the new Samsung S8. But, for now — and before the iPhone 8 goes full display — it’s a micro-engineering marvel and one more selling point for Apple design.
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