The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max could swap mechanical volume and power buttons for solid-state toggles that use haptic feedback instead. That’s according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says the buttons could function like the solid-state home button first released on the iPhone 7 that you can’t physically press down but vibrates in response to touch.
The iPhone 8, as well as the second and third-generation models of the budget-friendly iPhone SE also feature a solid-state home button, which is powered by Apple’s Taptic Engine. Apple utilizes this same technology to enable haptic keyboard presses in iOS 16, as well as with the Force Touch trackpads it uses on its MacBooks.
In a tweet, Kuo explains Apple will have to add Taptic Engines on the left and right side of the two high-end iPhone 15 models to “provide force feedback to make users feel like they are pressing physical buttons.” This would bring the number of Taptic engines inside the iPhone 15 from one to three. Kuo doesn’t mention the base iPhone 15 or the iPhone 15 Plus, so these two models might keep the same clicky power and volume buttons.
The company reportedly wanted to bring a solid-state button to its Apple Watch in 2018, but that still hasn’t happened, and even the new $799 Apple Watch Ultra still comes with some physical toggles. Even though we’re about a year out from the debut of the iPhone 15, we’ve still been hearing plenty of rumors about the upcoming device, including that it may drop the “Pro Max” branding for “Ultra,” and may even feature the new Dynamic Island on all models — not just the Pro versions. The iPhone 15 is also expected to become the first iPhone to feature USB-C.