It looks like Apple could be taking steps towards a physical button-less future for its iOS devices. The folks at 9to5Mac recently discovered in the latest beta of iOS 5 (beta 3) an upgraded version of AssistiveTouch. This accessibility feature designed for people who have trouble accessing the iOS device’s hardware buttons, using multi-fingered gestures or even rotating the device lets users perform a lot of different moves through an onscreen control panel.
Using AssistiveTouch, users can access the home screen, lock the device, rotate the screen, adjust the volume and even use multi-fingered gestures through the tap of a few buttons. Granted it takes more steps than actually performing the action with the hardware itself, it does show that Apple has some ideas in mind on how to pull off a button-less device. Hit the break to watch a video demonstration of the new AssistiveTouch: