iPhone 15 Ultra: First iPhone that "never" runs out of battery is killing the Mute switch

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
iPhone 15 Ultra: First iPhone that "never" runs out of battery is killing the Mute switch
There’s a mole at Apple. Of course, that’s bad news for Tim Cook & Co, but a real treat for the most impatient iPhone users who are looking forward to the upcoming iPhone 15!

We don’t get to say that often, but the leaks discussed in this story are actually not to be taken with a grain of salt (as says the anonymous leakster), which means all the information about the iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra and their brand new, state-of-the-art button technology is likely “close to 100% accurate” (of course, nothing is set in stone until September 2023).

The anonymous leakster is the same one who told us about how the Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro would work, 2-3 weeks before Apple’s 2022 flagships were introduced. This time around, we get a massive leak about the new buttons on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra, and that’s six months before the official launch of the new flagships!

  • Apple is replacing the entire button system of the current iPhone 14 Pro with 3D Touch technology
  • Apple is killing the the Ring/Silent switch found on the top left side of iPhones since the very original iPhone (2007)
  • Tim Cook & Co are likely preparing some surprises related to the new buttons of the iPhone 15 Ultra, which could (in theory) have limitless use case scenarios

So, let’s talk about what might be the biggest change to how we use iPhone since Face ID (2017), and why the iPhone 15 Pro’s buttons might have superpowers! Oh, and by the way, As of now, we don’t expect the new buttons to make it to the vanilla iPhone 15 models.

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra put the very end to Apple's Steve Jobs era! Tim Cook & Co kill the Ring/Mute switch that debuted on the original iPhone in 2007 to make room for something special

First things first, it is now 99.99% certain that Apple has decided - the Ring/Silent switch button (also known as the Mute switch) that’s existed on iPhones ever since the very beginning is going to go… The Ring switch falls victim to Apple’s endgame goal for a button-less, port-less iPhone. After doing away with the headphone jack and SIM card tray, it is now time the Ring switch and buttons go, to make way for something more sophisticated.

Of course, the Ring switch facilitates quick switching between the ring and the silent modes on iPhone, but the great news coming from the extensive leak of information is that the removal of the Mute switch might actually turn out to be one of the best and most innovative upgrades to iPhone since Face ID (2017).

Recommended Stories

And I don’t mean to “brag” but I have to say that I did see this coming. Here’s a link to my first story about the iPhone 15 Pro’s new buttons from exactly two months ago (as of writing this story). Then and there, I predicted the new “fake buttons” would unlock next-level functionality, and it now looks like I might’ve been right!

New Action Button on iPhone 15 Pro will be Everything Everywhere All at Once: Back Tap, Mute Switch, Siri, Camera button, and more

Video Thumbnail

Well, if the Mute switch is going away, then is there something to replace it? The answer is a new “Action Button”.

The concept of an “Action Button” isn’t brand new to Apple, as a similar button debuted on the Apple Watch Ultra last year. However, on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra, the Action Button is actually expected to also replace/become an alternative to another feature (not nearly as popular) - the Back Tap.

In case you didn’t know, you can tap the back of your iPhone - around the Apple logo (model-specific) to perform over 20 different tasks such as launching the Camera app, summoning the Control Centre, Lock Screen, Lock Rotation, Mute, access Reachability, take a Screenshot, and many more.

Since the Action Button will be able to sense pressure, it’s pretty much surefire that you’ll also be able to hold it down to perform even more actions. Really, the sky's the limit here, and it’s all on Apple to decide what features to enable via software. In that line of thought, “Magic Button” would probably be another suitable name for this new button (the name is currently unconfirmed, but knowing Apple, there will be one).

A special microprocessor in the Magic Buttons of iPhone 15 Pro to make sure your iPhone “never runs out of battery”?

Now, the functionality of the iPhone 15 Pro’s state-of-the-art buttons doesn’t stop here, as the anonymous leakster is telling us (again, with absolute certainty, according to them) that the new pressure-sensitive buttons will be powered by their very own micro-processor (similar to the one in AirPods). That applies to both the Action Button and new volume buttons.

The great benefit of switching to this microprocessor is supposed to greatly improve power consumption during those down-times. The new buttons on iPhone 15 Pro will be taking over this “life-saving” functionality thanks to their own microprocessor that will manage contactless transactions, UWB, and Bluetooth connections no matter whether your iPhone is on or dead…

Now, technically, Apple isn’t introducing (at least as far as this leak goes) anything brand new here - at least in terms of functionality. Current iPhones can already perform some important functions even when they are dead. One of them (perhaps the most important one is Find My, which allows your dead iPhone to stay connected to Apple’s Find My network so you can… find it, in case it was lost.

The “catch" is that this functionality is only available for a certain amount of time after your iPhone dies, as stated by Apple’s engineer above (they don’t specify how long). Now, with the new solid-state buttons running on a microprocessor, Apple will be able to give the iPhone “a longer second life”.

For instance, right now, I’m sitting at a coffee shop where I work from time to time, and somehow (exactly the day I’m working on this iPhone 15 Pro button story), I forgot to charge my iPhone 13 mini. I don’t usually carry cash or cards when I’m in town, solely relying on Apple Pay for transactions, which means… I couldn’t pay for my coffee (I was told I could do it next time I’m here; bless up, Hope Cafe).

The leakster also sums up what the microprocessor in the buttons of iPhone 15 Pro will do while on or off...

While powered on:

  • Capacitive volume, power and action buttons

While powered off:

  • Capacitive volume, power and action buttons
  • Drives NFC, LE Bluetooth, LE-UW chips, etc
  • Possibly; Taptic Engine feedback

While battery is dead:

  • Capacitive volume, power and action buttons
  • Drives NFC, LE Bluetooth, LE-UW chips, etc
  • Apple Pay Express card

The new pressure-sensitive buttons on iPhone 15 Pro are Apple's "Dynamic Island" for 2023

So, in a nutshell, Apple is rebuilding the way the iPhone’s buttons work, and while doing so is expected to add a whole world's worth of new functionality to iPhone 15 Pro series. That doesn’t happen that often, but I think, for once, we can all agree that Cupertino is pushing the envelope here.

I expect the new “buttons” on iPhone 15 Pro to be the “Dynamic Island” of Apple’s 2023 September event, with the difference that the new buttons might bring a great deal of real functionality/usability to the iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra. Then again, "innovation" is a relative term - some find the Dynamic Island innovative too.

Again, such a change to how a smartphone works doesn’t happen often - whether we’re talking iPhone or Android, so I’m truly excited to see what Cupertino has in mind, and I would expect surprises. As I said in my initial story about the iPhone 15 Pro’s new buttons, I keep dreaming of a two-stage camera shutter key, and the new “Action” or “Magic” button (as I like to call it), seems to be capable of giving us that.

Please, Tim? Tim... Please? Seriously. Come on.

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless