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Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro may feature solid-state volume buttons

Updated Dec 29th, 2022 1:22PM EST
iPhone 15 Pro Ultra

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Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro models may feature solid-state volume buttons with haptic feedback. This interesting tidbit comes via a new research report from Barclays. The report references a letter to shareholders from Cirrus Logic, one of Apple’s longtime component suppliers. The letter makes reference to ongoing work with a “strategic customer,” likely a reference to Apple. The work mentioned involves bringing “a new HPMS component to market in smartphones next year.”

HPMS is what Cirrus Logic uses as an umbrella term for its high-performance mixed-signal components. This category includes haptics and sensing components that provide responsive tactile feedback with ultra-low latency.

iPhone 15 Pro may feature a brand new design

Barclays writes in a note, via MacRumors, that Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro models will boast haptic-based volume buttons. Additionally, the power button may be haptic-based as well:

The biggest change to our thinking here is to model $1 of new content in the IP15 Pro models. To be clear, the company hasn’t said much here other than that the chip is mixed signal and not in the power domain. When looking at potential use cases, the largest change in new iPhone models next year is the removal of the buttons, which would require additional drivers for the haptics engine, making it the most likely use case for new content.

Notably, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen reports regarding a subtle redesign for the iPhone 15 Pro. A few weeks ago, reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo took to Twitter and relayed that the “volume button and power button of two high-end iPhone 15/2H23 new iPhone models may adopt a solid-state button design.”

In effect, the power button and volume buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro will be similar to how Apple implemented the home button on the iPhone 8. Kuo adds that Apple is planning to add taptic engines to both sides of the device to more effectively mimic the feeling of pressing physical buttons. Consequently, the iPhone 15 Pro will feature three taptic engines.

Kuo believes that Apple’s design shift here will prompt higher-end Android devices to follow suit.

iPhone with USB-C is also on the way

Earlier this week, word surfaced that the iPhone 15 may abandon the flat-edge design we’ve seen since the iPhone 12. While you’d be wise to take this with a grain of salt, rumor has it that the iPhone 15 may see a return to the rounded design we saw on models like the iPhone 11.

Of course, the biggest change we’ll see to the iPhone 15 is the addition of USB-C as a replacement for the Lightning connector.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.