Apple has released its newest iOS 5 beta along with a few bug fixes as well as some fresh features. Among the interesting new features included is the gesture system that is included in iOS 5’s Accessibility features. It has the similar functionality as the iPhone and iPad’s hardware buttons, signaling that Apple may be looking at its future devices with no more physical buttons.

This new gesture system is part of iOS 5’s Accessibility features in the device’s setup area. This new feature places a floating button on the screen that lets you access a number of hardware controls such as going back to the home screen, increasing or decreasing volume, locking the screen, and many others. This leaves the door open for Apple in developing more gesture controls for the iPhone.

The gesture system feature works like a control panel, under the “Assistive Touch” option. This allows the user to assign gestures to any existing hardware functions, eliminating the need, except during emergencies, for the “Home,” volume, or power buttons on the iPad and iPhone.

A number of industry analysts, however, believe that it may be difficult for people to quickly embrace a buttonless iPhone or iPod. On the other hand, others claim that feature might be relatively feasible with the iPad since most of its activity occurs in the display. Currently, there is no indication from Apple that they indeed plan to completely rid their devices of physical buttons.

The elderly market is seen by observers to greatly benefit from Apple’s implementation of the gesture system in iOS 5. Apple’s devices have offered good accessibility features for users with impairment, and it is a segment that they have done tremendously well compared to its competitors in the market for mobile devices. This feature can also be useful in special cases where the physical buttons are made inaccessible because of obstruction or security issues. Apple is also aware that a huge part of their users still prefer adjusting things on their iPhone such as the volume by accessing the hardware buttons.

“Assistive Touch” simply shows Apple’s ability to make software interfaces aimed at devices with no hardware buttons should the market moves to that direction in the future. When the iOS 4.3.3 was released, with multitouch gestures that allowed app switching, people speculated that Apple could be on its way in removing the home button. Given that the latest feature was located in the Accessibility menu simply tells how Apple currently regards these features.