It looks like one of the most significant design changes in this year’s iPhone update has been cancelled. In today’s post on Medium, respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed that Apple no longer plans to use solid-state buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max.
“My latest survey shows that due to unresolved technical issues ahead of mass production, both high-end iPhone 15 Pro models (Pro and Pro Max) will ditch the noteworthy solid button design,” he writes, “and return to the traditional physical button design.” .
Back in October 2022, there were rumors that late 2023 iPhone Pro versions had solid-state power and volume buttons, and until this spring, that theory was mostly accepted as fact. (For example, we discussed their likely implications in a cost-benefit analysis last month.) Indeed, it was Kuo who originally spread the rumor, albeit with the inclusion of the classic “may” admonishment.
In other words, the buttons won’t physically push inward, but instead use a tactile mechanism that mimics the feel of a click in response to pressure and skin contact. It looks like this approach is difficult to implement.
Apple did something similar back in 2016 when the iPhone 7 launched with a solid-state home button. The idea was that eliminating moving parts would reduce the chance of mechanical problems: in previous versions, the home button was one of the iPhone’s most prone to breakage parts. But the new design also did not please everyone; we called it “weird” and “weird” at the time, and its inability to work with non-capacitive gloves was a problem with the iPhone SE.
Also, using the static power button design in particular is more difficult than the home button. Such designs need power; For example, if you turned off one of Apple’s latest MacBooks, trying to press on the solid-state trackpad will be like pressing on a flat and unresponsive aluminum plate. However, the power button obviously needs to do its job when the iPhone is turned off.
It is not clear if this is an “unresolved technical issue” or if the rumors were wrong; a cynic might point out that it’s quite convenient for Kuo to be able to hit the headlines twice, first spreading the word and then destroying it. But Kuo is generally well informed, and as he points out in a Medium post, Apple still has time to change its mind.
“iPhone 15 Pro is currently in EVT. [Engineering Validation Test] under development,” he writes, “so there is still time to redesign.”
For the latest news and rumors leading up to this fall’s launch, check out our regularly updated iPhone 15 Super Guide, which includes comprehensive information about the Pro models, or you can check out our roundup of iPhone 15 Ultra rumors. If you don’t want (or can’t) wait that long, find the best current model for your needs with our iPhone buying guide.