The forthcoming iPhone 15 Pro models were expected to ditch traditional mechanical buttons for solid-state buttons, but that doesn’t seem to be happening any longer. Two prominent industry analysts have said that due to technical complexities, Apple has decided to stick with the current clicky buttons.
Multiple reports had said that the high-end iPhone 15 models would feature a new unified solid-state volume button with the Taptic Engine to simulate the feeling of a physical click. Leaked images also suggested that the phones were going to ditch the volume up and down buttons for solid-state surfaces.
9to5Mac reports that Haitong Tech analyst Jeff Pu, who has a mixed track record, has stated that he has heard from sources familiar with Apple’s supply chain that the iPhone 15 Pro will probably stick with physical buttons. That’s because solid-state buttons would require three new haptics engines inside the iPhone 15 Pro and this would complicate the design.
Apple apparently needs time to manufacture the required parts, so we are more likely to see solid-state buttons on next year’s iPhones.
The report was echoed by trusted inside Ming-Chi Kuo, who said unresolved technical issues have popped up before mass production, forcing Apple to abandon its plans to equip the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max/Ultra with solid-state buttons. The move is said to negatively impact suppliers Cirrus Logic and AAC Technologies, who were expected to provide the controller IC and Taptic engine, respectively.
Kuo notes that the iPhone 15 is currently in the Engineering Validation and Testing, or EVT phase. It’s the first of the validation tests, so Apple still has time to make changes to the design. Removing solid-state buttons would also simplify the development and testing process, per Kuo. Thus, these changes are unlikely to impact the iPhone 15 Pro launch schedule.
The iPhone 15 Pro was also rumored to come with a customizable capacitive action button instead of a mute switch and it’s not clear if that plan has also changed.
The redesigned buttons were one of the key changes expected this year, though it wasn’t abundantly clear if there were any actual benefits of using touch-sensitive areas instead of physical buttons. Therefore, even though this news is somewhat surprising, it’s unlikely to disappoint many people.
Other rumored changes include a new chip for the Pro models, curvier edges, thinner bezels, and a USB-C port.