Ming-Chi Kuo: Buttonless iPhone 15 models coming in 2023

Buttonless iPhone 15 premium models coming in 2023
Rumors about the iPhone 15 are already piling up at an alarming rate, once again proving that it's never too early to anticipate new information about an upcoming iPhone release. Wasn't the iPhone 14-series released just last month, in September? Doesn't matter, we're even hearing rumors about the iPhone 16 already, so it's business as usual!

Well-known Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo has it that Apple is reportedly planning to get rid of the physical buttons on "two high-end iPhone models" in 2023 and fully utilizing static capacitive buttons. According to the popular analyst, the design upheaval will reportedly see the removal of both volume buttons and the power button. The static buttons in their stead will provide haptic feedback, which would aim to replicate the feel of a real button. 

It doesn't take a genius to surmise that this banger of a design change would grace the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra (née iPhone 15 Pro Max), which will inevitably be the most premium iPhones to be released next year.

This absolutely isn't the first time Apple has done such a move. The iPhone 7-series in 2016, for example, dropped the physical home button for a static one that provided similar feedback, emulating the feel of pressing a real button. Since 2015, all MacBooks have also dropped clickable touchpads for static ones providing haptic feedback as well. 

However, nothing is said about the mute switch, a signature hardware feature of the iPhone, which can hardly be emulated by a similar technology. Our guess is that this one will (hopefully) stick around, and won't be dropped out of the iPhone feature list anytime soon. 

Ming-Chi Kuo also seemingly knows which some of the main taptic engine suppliers might be: Luxshare ICT and AAC technologies. Both Chinese companies reportedly expect 80%-100% growth of taptic engine shipments year-over-year in 2023. Ming-Chi Kuo is one of the more respected industry insiders with a great track record when it comes to inside Apple info, so we have no reasons to doubt his claims. 

We already know of another rather important change that will take place with the iPhone 15: it was recently confirmed that Apple will indeed comply with the recent ruling requiring devices sold in the EU to ship with a USB Type-C charging port. While the law technically gives Apple enough time until 2024 and the iPhone 16 generation to employ the USB charging port, it seems that Cupertino could be pre-emptively fulfill the requirement ahead of time. 

However, Ming-Chi Kuo doesn't expect USB Type-C suppliers to benefit much from Apple's switch to USB Type-C. Due to the maturity of the technology and the low costs of a unit, the insider doesn't expect that any relevant suppliers will improve their bottom line by much.  

As a refresher, this time around we expect Apple to announce four iPhone models once again, but with a slightly revamped naming scheme: iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Plus, and iPhone 15 Ultra. With the iPhone 14-series, we witnessed the untimely death of the "mini" model, and it looks like the iPhone 15 could potentially put the kibosh to the "Pro Max" model, with a much more advanced "Ultra" model rising from its ashes with even more differentiation from the regular iPhone Pro. 

Some other novel features that could make the iPhone 15 Ultra way better differentiated from the regular iPhone 15 models could be an even more capable camera and hardware, possibly greatly improving on the 48MP main sensor that debuted with the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

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