iPad & iPhone ditching home button; "Find My Friends" and new apps incoming?

Apple's iOS 4.3 beta and its multitouch gesture support are the first step in removing the home button from the iPhone and iPad, according to new sources. As several commenters suggested to us, and as BGR has apparently had confirmed by an Apple source, the gesture addition is designed to allow the company to do away with the physical button, instead returning to the homescreen or calling up the app switcher with multitouch swipes. Meanwhile, there's talk of new apps and location-based services coming to the platform.

According to BGR's source, the photo-taking OS X app Photo Booth is headed to the iPad as well – presumably to work with the second-gen tablet's integrated camera(s) – while it's described as "very possible" that iLife for iOS will be announced around the time of the iPad 2. Meanwhile, Mac Rumors has spotted a "Find My Friends" feature mentioned in the iOS 4.3 beta, related to MobileMe, and presumed to be a location-based friend-finding service.

Apple employees are apparently already testing home-button free iPads and iPhones on the company's campus, which suggests the new design will debut on models launching in 2011.