According to research firm Barclays, Apple supplier Cirrus Logic may have vaguely hinted that next year’s iPhone 15 Pro models will feature solid-state touch buttons.
In a letter to shareholders this month, the Texas-based semiconductor company said it continues to “engage with a strategic customer” and expects to “introduce a new HPMS component in smartphones next year. HPMS refers to Cirrus Logic’s high-performance mixed-signal chips, which include the Taptic Engine’s haptic drivers in iPhone phones.
In an earnings call with analysts this month, Cirrus Logic CEO John Forsyth narrowed the timeframe for the new component to “the second half of next year,” which would coincide with the launch of the iPhone 15 series next September.
In an investor note last week, Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O’Malley said the new component Cirrus Logic mentioned is likely to be part of an additional Taptic Engine for the haptic buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro models, “In looking at potential use cases, the biggest change in the new iPhone models next year is the removal of the physical buttons, which would require additional drivers for the Taptic Engine, making it the most likely new use case. “
In October renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that iPhone 15 Pro models will feature solid-state volume and power buttons. Kuo said the devices will come with two additional Taptic Engines that provide haptic feedback to simulate the feeling of pressing the buttons without requiring them to physically move, similar to the Home button on the recent iPhone SE models or the Force Touch trackpad on the newer MacBook.
Touch buttons on iPhone allow for better water resistance and will eliminate the pitfalls of potentially wearing out or damaging moving parts over time. However, the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are still expected to have mechanical buttons.