We’ve written a few times this year on the rumors that Apple is working on solid-state buttons for the iPhone 15 Pro, replacing the physical volume buttons and mute switch with digital buttons supported by haptic feedback.
Here’s what we had to say in March about the plan:
“It’s said that the upcoming Pro models will ditch the physical volume buttons and mute switch for solid-state buttons with no moving parts. Instead of clicking, they merely simulate the sensation of a press using Apple’s taptic engine. Sounds weird, but this system is already responsible for many things, including the Home button on several generations of iPhone and the MacBook’s trackpad. It works well, but it’s hard to deduce Apple’s reasoning for making the change: switching out physical buttons doesn’t offer any obvious benefits to the users, and it introduces more things that could potentially go wrong on the software side.”
However, the latest reports from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo state that Apple has abandoned that plan – for this year at least – due to “unresolved technical issues,” instead reverting to a traditional button design.
That means we’ll likely be waiting until the iPhone 16 next year to see what Apple has up its sleeve in terms of reinventing the humble button. It’s thought that the change would help with water and dust resistance, while also enabling new gestural inputs in the vein of the MacBook’s Touch Bar or the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island.
However good Apple’s new designs might be, we’re glad to hear they’re being left on the shelf until fully baked instead of rushed to production.