Last October, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted that the mute, volume and power buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max would be packed with Taptic engines that simulate the feel of button clicks. (Similar to the tactile home button on the iPhone SE 2022, which is quite addicting — in a fidget spinner sort of way).
Now, Kuo is rescinding this claim. In a new report published on Medium, the Apple analyst claims that Apple made a last-minute decision to axe solid-state buttons. Channeling my inner Michael Scott, I can't help but scream, "No, God! No, God, please no! No! No! Noooo!"
Why did Apple axe the rumored solid-state buttons?
This is one time I hope Kuo is wrong. As mentioned, the highly respected Apple leaker said that Apple ditched the iPhone 15 Pro models' solid-state button design due to "technical issues before mass production."
Kuo added that the iPhone 15 line is currently in the Engineering Validation and Testing (EVT) stage. This is the first step Apple takes in moving from "proof of concept" to the final product. During this process, components are analyzed and vetted by hawk-eyed experts. Consequently, it's likely that engineers spotted some unresolvable issues with the solid-state buttons, and as a result, they got the axe.
It's a shame that the iPhone 15 Pro models may no longer feature solid-state buttons. They would improve the devices' waterproof rating and likely add cool new gestures, too.
Kuo concluded that the iPhone 15 Pro models will continue to use its predecessors' physical buttons. Because this is a familiar and safe design, the development and testing process will be more simplified. As a result, this last-minute change will have a negligible impact on the iPhone 15's mass production shipments and schedule.
The future looks bright for this technology, but the future is not meant to be right now. It's fair to say I'm a little disappointed, and it begs the question that Content Editor Jason England asked yesterday: what is actually "new" about the iPhone 15 Pro now?
I mean sure, there is a slight curvature to a new titanium casing, but the same flat utilitarian design is very apparent. USB-C is coming, but that looks like it'll be throttled by Made For iPhone standards (which could be illegal anyway under EU law). And the 3nm A17 Bionic looks set to turboboost the iPhone, but it's already insanely fast as it is!
Time will tell what impacts these new developments will bring. But with every passing week, I can't help but feel the iPhone 15 is going to be a lot more iterative than the big fundamental evolution we were hoping for.
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!