New Accessibility Controls In IOS 5 May Convince You Apple Wants The Button Dead

Apple has added new assistive touch gestures to the latest Beta of iOS. While meant for users with disabilities, the new interface makes iOS much more intuitive.

New Accessibility Controls

It has been rumored that Apple is hellbent on removing the few, almost iconic buttons from the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Concepts have been tried on Apple’s part that may have included a completely capacitive solution to integrating more gestures in place of button controls in iOS.

The latest Beta of iOS 5 adds accessibility controls in the form of a small Software only panel. The controls, as demonstrated above, can lock a device, rotate the screen, change the volume, input a shake command (simulate the device shaking and triggering the accelerometer) and lock the screen orientation. The new controls can be accessed via the Settings App.

The End Of Buttons? Not So Fast!

If you’re thinking Apple is bent on killing the button, you don’t need to worry (at least not yet). The new controls shown off in iOS 5 are meant to assist users that have some sort of disability and need additional touch screen based controls.

While Apple experimented with touch gestures that could have replaced buttons on the iPad, they were meant to be complimentary to the physical controls:

This beta release contains a preview of new Multi-Touch gestures for iPad. You can use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen; swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar; and swipe left or right between apps. We are providing this preview before releasing them to the public to understand how these gestures work with your apps. Test them and give us your feedback on the Apple Developer Forums.

The problem with a complete touch oriented interface without any buttons is that accessibility to basic functions such as volume changes or locking the screen require slightly more time and are a reliant on a Software interface which would be unreliable if the interface froze, become unresponsive or outright failed.