Don't count out the solid-state buttons for the iPhone 15 series

Don't count out the solid-state buttons for the iPhone 15 series
A few days ago one of the more interesting rumors about the 2023 iPhone 15 series was shot down by a couple of big-name analysts.  Before we go there, let's go back and discuss exactly what we're talking about. Apple has been looking to replace the mechanical volume buttons on the iPhone 15 line with solid-state buttons that would use haptic feedback to trick the user into feeling as though he pressed down on one of the old-school buttons.

Images that we shared revealed that the premium iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra would have one long solid-state volume button. We'd assume that tapping on the top would raise the volume while pressing on the bottom would lower the volume. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus would have two solid-state volume buttons, one for volume up and one for volume down. Using the solid-state buttons would presumably reduce wear and tear on the mechanical parts currently used and perhaps make it easier to keep the phones water-resistant.

Two prominent analysts now say Apple will not use solid-state buttons on the iPhone 15 line

But as we said, two prominent analysts, Haitong Tech's Jeff Pu, and TFI International's Ming-Chi Kuo, have changed their tunes. Pu says that he has heard from the Apple supply chain that Apple has decided to give up on using the solid-state buttons because using them would require Apple to design three new haptic engines to fit inside the phones. But Apple doesn't have the time to design and source the needed parts.

Kuo cited unresolved technical issues for Apple's decision to scrap the solid-state buttons for now. Removing the solid-state buttons will make it easier to finish developing and testing the new models he says, and it isn't clear whether Apple will still offer users a capacitive action button in place of the mute switch.

But wait, don't shovel that last bit of dirt on top of the solid-state buttons' graves just yet. Twitter tipster @analyst941 (via Macworld), who does not have the reputation that Kuo has (not too many do), says that it is too late for Apple to scrap the solid-state buttons. He notes that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra "will still have capacitive touch buttons, contrary to rumors, the development team is working too closely with new hardware to turn back now."

How the same person starts a rumor, negates the same rumor, and then leaves things up in the air

Previous rumors called for the solid-state buttons to give users the ability to customize sensitivity to make sure that they would work with thick protective cases and when the user was wearing gloves. In addition, they would be equipped with a low-energy power source that would allow the solid-state buttons to function even if the phone's battery is completely drained.

Kuo might have set a record here for starting the original rumor about the solid-state buttons, doing a 180-degree turn and killing off the rumor, and then noting that Apple can still change its mind. As Kuo tweeted the other day, "The iPhone 15 Pro is currently in the EVT (Engineering Validation Test) development stage so there is still time to modify the design."

So everything remains up in the air with less than five months remaining until the 2023 iPhone models officially see the light of day. As we get closer to the expected September unveiling of the iPhone 15 line, we should be inundated with the usual barrage of renders, rumors, and leaks about the new phones. Most likely we will know exactly whether Apple will use the solid-state buttons or stick with the mechanical ones well before Tim Cook says "Good morning" to us all on that September day later in the year when Apple unveils the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Ultra.

Recommended Stories

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