Since the upcoming, premium iPhone won’t include a physical home button, Apple has reportedly come up with at least one new way of triggering Siri with an actual button on the device: it will use the sleep/wake/power button. Developer Guilherme Rambo, who has already unearthed details about the “iPhone 8” and other coming Apple products like the HomePod and a 4K Apple TV, claims to have found a “gesture to invoke Siri by holding the lock button.” 9to5Mac and MacRumors both reported on the discovery.
Apple’s preferred way for users to interact with Siri will almost certainly remain voice and the “Hey Siri” callphrase. But having a reliable, consistent way of pulling up the iPhone’s digital assistant without speaking to your phone is important — both as a backup and for consumers who are simply more familiar with holding a button to access Siri.
But moving Siri to the sleep/wake button adds yet another bit of functionality to a growing list of things the button already does. You press the button to lock or wake up your iPhone; you hold it down longer to power down the device. And critically, the new Emergency SOS option in iOS 11 is also tied to the sleep/wake button, allowing you to automatically dial 911 (or your country’s respective emergency number) with five quick presses of the button. This same feature is linked to the “cop mode” setting — also new to iOS 11 — that temporarily disables Touch ID until the next time your passcode is entered.
Bloomberg recently reported that Apple’s redesigned iPhone 8 will likely feature a “software bar” that will reproduce some of the core interactions currently assigned to the home button. It may also include a dock similar to what iPad users will receive with the update to iOS 11.