With all of the excitement surrounding the invitations going out for the iPad 3 event today, we noticed something here at TechnoBuffalo: Is the home button missing on the iPad 3?

Our own Jon Rettinger brought up the point to me shortly after seeing the invitation image that it appeared that the home button might be missing from the iPad 3.  Being someone that never turns down a challenge, and figuring it might be some fun to speculate before next week’s announcement, I took up the reigns of this cart to see what I could figure out.

First, the image in question.

iPad 3 invite

At first glance, it appears the home button may be indeed missing, so, luckily, I still had the same background image in my photo library on my iPad 2.  I put it back in place, matched up rain drops and see that they are indeed the same image. Working from there I figured out the hand is in the bottom right corner of the image, and assuming there are 5 icons in the dock, the home button should be directly below the Maps icon.  Here is a picture of my own iPad 2 with five icons in the dock in portrait mode.  (click any of the images for full size)

5 icons in dock - portrait

As you can see, matching up the rain drops, Maps should be directly above the home button in the invitation image if the iPad 3 is indeed in portrait mode, and matching up the water.

Here it is with six icons in the dock in portrait mode, and as you can see, the icons get too close together, and the corresponding rain drops become hidden.

6 icons in dock - portrait

Our own Noah Kravitz asked me if the iPad 3 in the image was potentially in landscape mode, so I followed up by taking pictures in that mode with 5 and 6 icons in the dock.

5 icons in dock - landscapeWith 5 icons in the dock, the app icons are way too far apart to match up with the invite image.

6 icons in dock - landscapeWhen you have six icons in landscape, the water droplets you need to use as markers get obscured by the Maps icon.

We do feel safe in saying the iPad 3 in the invitation image is indeed in portrait mode, and while it does appear the home button is missing, this is of course not scientifically conclusive that it is indeed gone, but it certainly adds another layer of mystery to be answered during next week’s announcement.

There is however one caveat to all of this, as has been rumored endlessly, the new display is supposed to be 2048 x 1536, double the density of the iPad 2.  There is a possibility that the density could have potentially shifted the rain drops slightly, but we don’t know that for sure as of yet.

We have been hearing since last year that Apple may be moving towards buttonless versions of the iPhone and iPad, and if these pictures are anything to go by, that time may be here as soon as next week.

What do you think?  Is the home button gone from the iPad 3?