More cold water has been poured on the smouldering rumor that the iPhone 15 Pro could feature solid-state, haptic buttons. The feature could still come to the iPhone 16 Pro, but we're not sure if new power and volume keys are worth waiting for by themselves.
The rumor comes from a comment buried within a recent shareholder statement (PDF) from Cirrus Logic, one of Apple's component suppliers that focuses on haptic feedback. It suggests that Apple has indeed canceled the solid-state buttons on this year's iPhones, much to Cirrus' disappointment.
As part of the introduction, the report explains why the company’s had to re-forecast its upcoming financial performance. It reads:
"a new product that we mentioned in previous shareholder letters as being scheduled for introduction this fall is no longer expected to come to market as planned. As we have limited visibility into our customer’s future plans for this product at this time, we are removing the revenue associated with this component from our internal model."
Reading between the lines, and factoring in what we’ve heard previously, it sounds like this product would have been the iPhone 15 Pro’s solid-state buttons, and more importantly that the feature is not coming after all.
Cirrus had told its investors back in November that it would be building a new High-Performance Mixed-Signal (HPMS) chip for one of its biggest partners, which also follows what was believed at the time about the iPhone 15 Pro and its new buttons. But rumors since then have suggested Apple's had to abandon the plan due to technical issues it couldn't resolve in time for the scheduled mass production period.
The solid-state buttons aren't gone forever, it seems. Further leaks and rumors, including one made recently by reporter Mark Gurman, claim that Apple will add the feature to the iPhone 16 Pro instead.
A feature worth waiting for?
Apple already offered, and continues to offer, iPhones with a solid-state button: the iPhone SE (2022) and similar models dating back to the iPhone 7, which use a virtual home button instead of a physical one. Adding similar abilities to the iPhone's power and volume buttons seems a natural change to make, and one that could make for enhanced water/dust resistance too.
But without further rumors about additional benefits that haptic buttons could add, we don't think it's worth ignoring the iPhone 15 series if you're after an upgrade.
The iPhone 15 Pro's still rumored to get a new, powerful 3nm chipset, a more comfortable design with curvier edges and an even better telephoto camera for the Pro Max version. And if you're really focused on buttons, then there may still be something for you on this year's models as there are rumors of a rebindable "action button,“ similar to the one on the Apple Watch Ultra, for the iPhone 15 Pro models. All of these sound like worthwhile, upgrade-worthy features, unlike haptic buttons.
With new iPhones usually appearing in September each year, there's still a bit of a wait before these new features are confirmed. If you're curious about what's been tipped up to now through, you can take a look at our iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max rumor hubs for more.