Apple’s iPhone 15 lineup is tipped to make big changes both externally and internally, but now a really noticeable design change has leaked.
According to respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will replace the physical volume and power buttons on the premium iPhone 15 models with solid-state (non-moving) buttons that provide feedback via haptic motors. And we already know its codename.
Last month, anonymous leaker ShrimpApplePro tweeted that Apple was working on an “iPhone without a physical button. Project code name “Bongo”. The lack of context around the time frame meant it was widely overlooked, with many writing it off as years away. But Kuo changed all that.
“My latest research shows that the volume button and power button of the two high-end new iPhone 15/2H23 models may have a solid-state button design (similar to the Home button design on the iPhone 7/8/SE2 and 3). replace the physical/mechanical design of the button,” explains Kuo.
Kuo says Apple will place Taptic Engines (the company’s trademark for haptic engines) on the inside left and right sides of the new iPhones, which provide force feedback “so users feel like they’re pressing physical buttons.” Interestingly, Kuo states that he also expects premium Android smartphones to quickly adopt this design.
10/31 Update: Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, writing in his latest Power On newsletter, has weighed in on USB-C coming to the iPhone 15 lineup, detailing how Apple will introduce the switch to customers.
“While Apple seems bitter that the government is interfering with its product roadmap, the switch from Lightning to USB-C is actually a good thing for consumers,” Gurman argues.
While Apple hasn’t specifically confirmed that it will fix the USB-C port on the new iPhones, Gurman says that they will indeed be coming to the iPhone 15 models, meaning it will be across the range rather than a Pro/Ultra exclusive as some leaks claim. .
“You can bet that when Apple announces the iPhone 15, the change won’t be described as government intervention,” says Gurman. “It will be presented as a way to simplify charging on iPhones, iPads and Macs.” This is undoubtedly true, if somewhat false, given that Apple could have switched the iPhone to USB-C years ago – after all, Apple itself was involved in the development of the standard.
When the Lighting was first introduced in September 2012, its compact reversible nature justified its existence over the irregular micro-USB. But that argument lost weight when USB-C arrived and became ubiquitous on iPads and Macs, creating its own break in the company’s charging solutions.
Update 11/01: Apple’s iPhone design decisions continue to be leaked, or in this case, missing.
In a new supertweet to his premium followers, display specialist Ross Young revealed that “Apple hasn’t finalized the display selection for the SE4. 6.1″ OLED from 2 vendors is believed to be under consideration, as well as 5.7″-6.1″ LCD from 2 vendors.”
This is truly surprising. Apple is known for working generations in advance, so for the company to still be thinking about something as fundamental as the size of its next iPhone SE is highly unusual. That said, I suspect I know why.
Growing sales of the massive 6.7-inch iPhone Pro Max models combined with weak sales of the 5.4-inch iPhone Mini line (resulting in its cancellation) convinced Big Was In. However, the lack of sales of the iPhone 14 Plus subsequently muddied the matter, and customers shied away from Apple’s cheapest large-screen iPhone ever.
That shouldn’t have happened. The combination of a large screen and a long-lasting battery at a (relatively) affordable price has led many, including myself, to predict that the iPhone 14 Plus will be the best-selling model of the iPhone 14. Instead, Apple finds itself between smaller, budget-friendly LCD options and the 6, 1-inch OLED. The latter could further cannibalize sales of the low-end iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, after customers who opted for the Pro models have already been anchored back to the higher end, where cost differences narrow when spread over a 2-3 year contract with the operator.
Also read – What happened to the 2022 MacBook Pro?
So Apple has some work to do. Additionally, while Young said in a follow-up supertweet that the company won’t release the iPhone SE4 until 2024, it still has time to evaluate the long-term sales of all iPhones before making a decision.
It’s a decision that carries significant consequences, as Apple probably got its product segmentation strategy wrong for the first time in years. It’s a strategy that has also raised doubts about the positioning of other lines, including the entry-level and pro-level iPads and the entry-level MacBook Air M1 vs its M2 successor.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the reported delay in M2 MacBook Pro shipments isn’t linked to the company rethinking how it positions the M1 models in general: continue to sell them at a reduced price like the M1 MacBook Air and risk further cannibalization or replace the models entirely. It’s a growing problem across many product lines that Apple needs to address.
While the concept sounds strange, it makes sense. Apple has a lot of experience with haptic motors and has successfully pulled off this trick of sensory deception with MacBook touchpads since 2015. The company also scaled back its haptic engines to introduce “3D Touch” on the iPhone 6S, but ultimately failed to make its functionality intuitive. killing feature with iPhone 11.
This was a rare example of Apple making great hardware but failing to find a software application, so its return seems appropriate. Moving parts also carry a higher risk of failure, so the switch should increase reliability and reduce repair costs. It can also increase water resistance. The technology could even be extended to provide DualSense-like feedback in games, as there will be motors on both sides of the phones.
Some questions remain, like how the cases will work (the cut-outs might feel weird), but overall it sounds like a very positive step. Combine that with leaks that claim Apple will introduce an iPhone 15 Ultra with a super-strong titanium chassis, dual front-facing cameras, a USB-C port powered by Thunderbolt 4, along with a new design for the standard iPhone 15 models — and it looks like In 2023 excitement is returning to iPhones.
Apple’s radical iPhone 15 redesign could ditch buttons entirely
While the iPhone 14 Pro made a big splash last month with the introduction of the brand new Dynamic Island, the design of the standard iPhone 14 was met with a collective shrug. It’s almost exactly the same as the iPhone 13 – inside and out. And if new rumors are to be believed, next year’s most dramatic design change will also affect the Pro models.
Renowned Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo has stated that the two iPhone 15 Pro models will be the first to ditch physical buttons entirely, with the volume and power buttons being replaced by a tactile touch. (Want the best iPhone experience available now? Check out today’s best iPhone 14 deals.)
In a series of tweets, Kuo claims that “the volume button and power button of the two high-end iPhone models may have a solid-state button design (similar to the Home button design on the iPhone 7/8/SE2).
The iPhone SE home button above uses Apple’s “taptic” engine (which is simply Apple’s own word for “haptic”) to create the sensation of pressing the button — but what the user actually feels is vibrational feedback.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Apple plans to ditch the buttons altogether. We’ve heard (opens in new tab) that Apple is working on implementing disappearing buttons or sliders thanks to touch-sensitive surfaces. Similar to those rumors about Apple planning a portless iPhone, the company seems determined to achieve a completely seamless design — perhaps finally achieving Steve Jobs’ ultimate vision for the iPhone.
Time will tell if we’re really headed for a buttonless iPhone in 2023. But while we don’t expect the charging port to go the way of the headphone jack next year, it sounds increasingly likely that USB-C is finally on its way.