Apple could switch to solid-state volume and power buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro series. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made this claim based on his latest supply chain checks.
To replicate the feeling of pressing a physical button, Apple will add two Taptic Engines to 2023’s Pro iPhones.
iPhone 15 Pro will reportedly house three Taptic Engines
Using the Taptic Engine, Apple can replicate the feeling of a physical button when a solid-state button is pressed. The switch to solid-state buttons should help reduce mechanical failures commonly associated with volume and power buttons. Mac trackpads also use a Taptic Engine to imitate the feeling of a physical button press.
Apple first used this technology for the Touch ID button on the iPhone 7. You will currently find the same technology in use on the 2022 iPhone SE’s Home button. Solid-state buttons are capacitive in nature, but when pressed, it feels like you are pressing a physical button. This is thanks to the Taptic Engine sitting below the button that vibrates in such a manner. iPhone X and newer models feature only one Taptic Engine that works as the vibration motor.
Kuo believes Apple will add Taptic Engines behind the solid-state buttons of the iPhone 15 Pro series to achieve a similar result. Further, he believes that high-end Android flagships will eventually adopt a similar technology as well.
Solid-state volume buttons could allow for gestures
Apple using solid-state buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro could open the door for additional functionality. For example, you could swipe up/down on the volume buttons to increase/decrease the volume. Similarly, you could tap the buttons lightly to skip forward or go back to the previously played song.
While the iPhone 14 Pro lineup represented a minor upgrade over 2021’s iPhone 13 Pro series, Apple could have a lot of changes in store for the iPhone 15 lineup. Besides a design refresh, Apple is expected to use a periscope camera for better zoom performance and switch to a USB-C port for charging.