Apple may not ship the iPhone 15 Pro series with the rumored unified solid-state capacitive buttons. TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple abandoned the plan due to “unresolved technical issues.”
Previously, multiple rumors indicated Apple would replace the physical buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro with capacitive keys. The design also would have added two new Taptic Engines to simulate the feeling of pressing physical buttons.
iPhone 15 Pro’s capacitive buttons might not happen after all
Based on his latest supply chain survey, Kuo — one of the most accurate Apple analysts around — says the iPhone 15 Pro has entered the engineering validation test, or EVT, stage of development. This is the last stage before a device enters mass production. The removal of the capacitive keys and the reintroduction of the physical buttons would actually simplify the phone’s design and development process. So the reported change would be unlikely to negatively impact the iPhone 15 Pro’s mass production schedule.
“My latest survey indicates that due to unresolved technical issues before mass production, both high-end iPhone 15 Pro models (Pro & Pro Max) will abandon the closely-watched solid-state button design and revert to the traditional physical button design,” Kuo wrote Tuesday on Medium.
Haitong International Securities Group analysts Jeff Pu and Shelly Chou corroborated Kuo’s findings, according to MacRumors. The analysts also think Apple likely will stick with physical buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro.
“Based on our supply chain checks, we now expect iPhone 15 Pro series to move back to the current design of a physical button due to a more complex design,” the pair wrote in a research note seen by the publication.
Two iPhone 15 Pro models’ removal of solid-state button design negatively affects Cirrus Logic and AAC / 兩款iPhone 15 Pro取消固態按鍵設計不利Cirrus Logic與瑞聲科技https://t.co/Ot81sCQzgk
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) April 12, 2023
Apple going back to physical keys on iPhone 15 Pro
Kuo was among the first to reveal that iPhone 15 Pro could use solid-state volume and power buttons. Another earlier leak claimed Apple would ditch the mute switch in favor of a customizable Action button.
With the capacitive buttons reportedly shelved, it is unclear if the iPhone 15 Pro series will include a new low-power microprocessor that was supposed to drive them. The processor would have handled the unified buttons’ 3D Touch-like functionality. Plus, it would have enabled them to work even when the phone’s battery was dead.
If Apple stays with physical keys on the iPhone 15 Pro, it may not include the two new Taptic Engines, either. The company planned to use them to provide haptic feedback when the capacitive buttons were pressed.
Despite the removal of the solid-state buttons, iPhone 15 Pro will pack some major design changes. This includes a titanium chassis, a bigger camera hump and a USB-C port at the bottom to replace Lightning.