Home button reprieved

Last week, you might recall the internet went a bit fluttery when some bright spark noticed that the beta of iOS 4.3, the next version of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch's software, contained optional new multi-touch features. Users can swipe four fingers to switch between apps or open the multi-tasking bar, or even pinch to get back to the Home Screen. The news led to speculation that the next iPad, due to be launched later this year, would get rid of its one button.

Well, there was a bit more fluttering yesterday, when another bright spark got hold of some pictures of a future beta showing the same multi-touch features on the iPhone. Could it be a double revolution, many wondered?

Well, nah. Apple has cheerfully pushed out the second beta of iOS 4.3. And with it an explanation of the new gestures: 'This feature will not be enabled in iOS 4.3 for customers, but we are providing this preview to gather input on how these gestures work with your apps.'

That's right: these new controls aren't going to be ready for ordinary folk for some time.

We'd estimate that the next-but-one iOS won't be ready until, at the earliest, June, when the iPhone 5 is released. We guess that could theoretically mean the iPhone 5 will use these features, and maybe even lack a home button as a result. But the chances of these tricks being available in the iPad 2 seem slim.

Why can't the future just hurry up, already?!

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