It looks like one of the most important design changes in this year’s iPhone update has been canceled. In a Medium post on Wednesday, respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple no longer plans to use a solid-state button design on the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. However, a later report refuted this claim.
Kuo reports that its latest survey “reports that due to unresolved technical issues before mass production, both high-end iPhone 15 Pro (Pro & Pro Max) models will ditch the closely watched solid-state button design and revert to a physical button.” traditional design.” His report led to a decline in the inventory of potential suppliers for the buttons. However, a tweet by a less-tested leaker Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha Kuo contradicted, saying that the iPhone 15 Pro “will still have capacitive touch buttons, contrary to rumors, the development team is working very closely with the new hardware to go back now.”
As far back as October 2022, rumors suggested late-2023 Pro versions of iPhones had solid power and volume buttons, and the theory was largely accepted as fact until this spring. (We discussed their potential implications in a cost-benefit analysis last month, for example.) In fact, it was Koo himself who initially propagated the rumor, albeit with the inclusion of the classic word of warning “may.”
In other words, the buttons won’t actually press in, but instead use a haptic mechanism to mimic the feel of a click in response to pressure and skin contact. This approach seems to prove difficult to implement.
Apple did something similar back in 2016 when it launched the iPhone 7 with a hard Home button. The idea was that ditching a moving part lessened the potential for mechanical problems: In previous iterations, the Home button was one of the most fault-prone parts of the iPhone. But the new design was not universally liked either; We called it “weird” and “weird” at the time, and its inability to work with non-capacitive gloves was a problem with the iPhone SE.
On top of that, using a flat design on the power button, specifically, is a bit trickier than the home button. Such designs need strength; If you turn off one of Apple’s recent MacBooks, for example, trying to press against a solid-state trackpad is like pressing against a flat, unresponsive slab of aluminum. However, the power button obviously needs to be able to do its job when the iPhone is locked.
It’s unclear if this was the “unsolved technical issue”, or if the rumor was started in the beginning; A cynic might note that it is very convenient that Kuo can grab headlines twice, first by starting a rumor and then killing it. But Kuo is generally well informed, and as he notes in the Medium post, there’s still time for Apple to change its mind.
iPhone 15 Pro is currently in EVT [Engineering Validation Test] development stage, he writes, “so there is still time to adjust the design.”
For the latest news and rumors leading up to the launch this fall, check out our regularly updated iPhone 15 super guide, which includes comprehensive information on the Pro models, or check out our roundup of iPhone 15 Ultra rumours. If you don’t want (or can’t) wait that long, find the best current model for your needs with our iPhone buying guide.
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