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Kuo: iPhone 15 Pro will get a major redesign with no physical buttons

Updated Nov 24th, 2022 9:45AM EST
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max units on launch day
Image: Jonathan Geller BGR

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The iPhone 15 models will deliver Apple’s big switch to USB-C next year. That’s what most rumors have said for a while. And Apple has confirmed that it will comply with the EU’s new law, though it didn’t specify when. But Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-connected Apple supply chain insider, claims the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will also bring over another massive design change.

The more expensive models will move closer to the portless/buttonless iPhone design that Apple is rumored to be working toward. Kuo says the iPhone 15 Pros will not have any physical buttons at all. Instead, Apple will introduce new solid-state power and volume buttons similar to the Touch ID home button on older iPhone and iPad models.

These are buttons that do not physically move when you press them. Instead, Apple relies on the Taptic Engines to simulate presses and deliver feedback to the user.

Kuo said in a series of tweets that only the iPhone 15 Pro models will adopt the solid-state design.

As a result, Apple will place additional Taptic Engines internally on the left and right sides of the handset. These will make users feel like they are pressing physical buttons.

The rumored iPhone 15 Pro design change will obviously increase the number of Taptic Engines that each phone will use. We’re looking at three units instead of one, which means Taptic Engine parts suppliers will benefit from Apple’s new designs.

Kuo identified Luxshare ICT and AAC Technologies as the primary beneficiaries. Moreover, he thinks Android handset makers will follow Apple’s lead and copy the solid-state buttons. That, of course, would come as no surprise.

As for users, the main advantage of having solid-state buttons instead of physical ones is that Apple will remove physical openings in the iPhone’s metal frame. The current iPhones are water resistant, but the absence of cutouts might turn future devices into truly waterproof handsets. But for that to happen, the USB-C port will have to be eliminated, too.

Separately, Kuo noted that the buttonless design and the switch to USB-C are two significant updates for the iPhone 15 Pro. But the iPhone 15 Pro may not get a big camera upgrade and only Taptic Engine makers should profit from it. According to the analyst, the maturity of USB-C technology means connector suppliers will not see significant gains.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.