By now, everyone remotely interested in the upcoming super-premium iPhone 15 models, namely the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Ultra (or iPhone 15 Pro Max), will most likely do away with physical buttons in favor of capacitive buttons that will give users haptic feedback instead of an actual “click”. This change will likely accommodate both the volume buttons on the left and the power/wake button on the right side of an iPhone.
So far, so good, but it seems that the layout of the buttons could also change a bit, in a way. YouTuber ZoneOfTech, for example, is convinced that the top-tier iPhones will feature a single capacitive volume rocker button instead of the current two separate regulars button that are responsible for turning the volume up or down.
The proverbial “proof”? Previous iPhones have all featured two hardware pins on each volume button, meaning four in total for the two volume buttons, but the iPhone 15 Pro/Ultra CAD files only show two pins where the volume buttons would normally be, which essentially means that there will be a single solid-state button.
Using this one will likely be intuitive to seasoned phone users: holding the top part of the solid-state volume rocker will amp up the volume, while pressing (and likely holding) the bottom part will shh things down. So, yes, from a technological perspective, things will be changing a lot, but from the eyes of a regular user, this major hardware shift will most likely go down intuitively, with a short window for getting accustomed to the new way of things.
There are some possible issues that immediately pop into mind. It would be interesting to see how faulty iPhones would go into recovery (DFU) mode, which currently requires interacting with both the volume down and power buttons. What’s more interesting, however, is how case-makers will adapt to the design change should the new keys require physical touch contact.
What about the mute button? While we haven’t previously heard any specific rumors pertaining to the beloved staple of the iPhone, ZoneOfTech is convinced that Apple will be ditching the hardware mute switch for a capacitive button as well. Pressing this one will switch silent mode on and off, and wed also speculate that iPhone users would be able to invoke different iOS Focus states by interacting with this solid-state mute switch.
In order to make up for the lack of hardware clicks, Apple is reportedly considering adding at least a pair of two new Taptic Engines inside the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra, which would aim to mimic the feel of a regular volume button.
This change, combined with the rumored titanium design, Apple A17 Bionic chipset built on the 3nm manufacturing node, and a USB Type-C port as well as a new periscope camera system, makes Apple’s next premium models quite intriguing already, given that we’re still more than six months away from their most probable announcements.
Interestingly, this important design change will bring the iPhone 15 premium models more in line with the very first iPhones launched prior to the iPhone 4, like the original iPhone and the iPhone 3GS, which all had unified volume rocker buttons for changing the phone volume. Apple added separate circular volume buttons on the iPhone 4, which was also one of the biggest design changes in the iPhone’s family history.
Would this change affect the ordinary iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus? Unlikely, these two will most certainly retain the regular iPhone button configuration, but we could expect that things would change in future generations.