Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is doubling down on his prediction that the iPhone 15 Pro models will switch from physical volume and power buttons to new solid-state buttons. If iPhone users “respond well” to this change, Kuo explains that Apple will likely roll out the change to other high-end devices in the future.
Kuo first reported on this change in October, explaining that the clicky volume and power buttons would be dropped in favor of solid-state buttons. In a new series of tweets on Wednesday, Kuo doubles down on this prediction with more details on the supply chain:
My latest survey indicates that high-end iPhone 15 models will feature solid-state buttons and will equip with additional Taptic Engines to simulate the feel of physical buttons’ force feedback.
Cirrus Logic is the primary winner for canceling physical buttons and the change to adopt solid-state buttons on the 2H23 high-end iPhone 15 models.
As the exclusive supplier of Taptic Engine’s controller IC for solid-state buttons, Cirrus Logic stands to benefit markedly from this new design. If users respond well to this new design, I think it may be adopted in other high-end models of product lines in the future.
With this change, the power button and volume buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro models won’t be physical buttons. Instead, they’ll be solid-state surfaces, and when pressed, Apple will use the Taptic Engine to simulate the “clicky” feeling of a real button.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because Apple did the same thing with the physical Home button starting with the iPhone 7. That device, and subsequent iPhones with a Home button, used a solid-state design rather than a physical button that actually moved. The company also uses a solid-state design with the trackpad on recent MacBooks.
Kuo says today that if users “respond well” to this new design, Apple is likely to make the change on other “high-end” devices in the future. Presumably, this is in reference to the iPad Pro and perhaps future versions of the Apple Watch.
Rumors in the past have actually suggested that Apple hopes to swap the Apple Watch buttons to solid-state buttons. So far, this change hasn’t actually materialized.
Kuo hasn’t gone in-depth on why Apple is making this change on the iPhone 15 Pro. Presumably, the biggest motivator is improved durability. The physical power and volume buttons are prone to failure because of their analog design. Apple may also be able to improve durability with solid-state buttons, but the physical mute switch is expected to remain.
I have some questions about this change, particularly in regard to solid-state buttons and iPhone cases. Presumably, this is something Apple has thought of – but we’ll see.
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