Apparently, Apple is preparing some surprises for the line of iPhone 15 next year, including one that marks the return of haptic technology for physical controls on its phones. According to TF Interntional Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple plans to put “solid-state” buttons on Pro models next year, replacing the power and volume buttons on the sides.
Kuo adds that Apple will place the Taptic Engine array along the vertical edge of the phone on both the left and right sides; Apple’s existing line of phones comes armed with a single Tapt engine. In a nutshell, the power and volume buttons are gone.
For those who don’t know, this is the same system that simulates the sensation of a physical click on Apple hardware. The best example would be the glass-covered trackpad on MacBooks, which offers satisfying vibration feedback when you touch the trackpad, replicating the safe feedback of a physical click.
Apple integrated similar technology into the Touch ID home button in the iPhone 7 and its successor. Instead of a button that could be physically pushed down when pressed, users simply tapped the button and let the Taptic Engine produce vibration feedback to simulate the sensation of pressing the button.
Huawei used a similar solution on the Mate 30 Pro, which had a dramatically curved waterfall display that left no room for physical volume control. To make up for it, the Chinese smartphone maker chose an on-screen system for volume controls.
It’s unclear if Apple will go with the usual flat metal edge design, or if we’re finally going to see a curved screen aesthetic on the iPhone 15 Pro. The implementation will most likely be good, though, mainly because of the Taptic Engine. it will be there on both the left and right side.
Upping the ante on innovation
Interestingly, putting a Taptic motor on each side could solve the dexterity issue. The physical power button on an iPhone is on the right, while the volume rocker is on the left. With a buttonless approach that relies on a vibration motor mechanism, Apple could allow users to change the position of the volume and power buttons along the left and right edges.
Apple is also reportedly planning to upgrade the 6GB RAM capacity in the series. iPhone 14 to 8 GB in its successor. The most notable update will reportedly happen in the camera department. Apple is reportedly considering a periscope-style telephoto camera for the iPhone 15 Pro models, significantly increasing the lossless optical zoom range.
Apple’s best currently tops out at the 3x optical zoom range, despite the $1,000 starting price. On the other hand, Android rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra have reaped the benefit of a periscope telephoto camera system (also known as a folded lens) to deliver 10x optical zoom and 30x hybrid zoom output, going as high as 100x digital zoom.
Finally, there is the juicy rumor of USB-C, which Apple only confirmed earlier this week. Apple won’t say when exactly its phones will move away from the Lightning port, but if the 2024 deadline set by the EU is anything to go by, Apple might want to start early by putting a USB-C port in its phones starting in the family. iPhone 15 next year.