New Apple Leak Reveals iPhone 15 Design Shock

Tech Industry

Apple’s iPhone 15 range is tipped to make big changes externally and internally, but now a truly eye-opening design change has leaked.

According to respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will replace the physical volume and power buttons on premium iPhone 15 models with solid-state (immovable) buttons that provide feedback via haptic motors. And we already know its codename.

Last month, anonymous leaker ShrimpApplePro tweeted that Apple is working on an ‘iPhone with no physical button. Project codename ‘Bongo’.” The lack of context around the timeframe meant it was widely overlooked, written off by many as being years away. But Kuo changed all that.

“My latest survey indicates that the volume button and power button of two high-end iPhone 15/2H23 new iPhone models may adopt a solid-state button design (similar to the home button design of iPhone 7/8/SE2 & 3) to replace the physical/mechanical button design,” explains Kuo.

Kuo says that Apple will fit Taptic Engines (the company’s branding for haptic motors) on the new iPhones’ internal left and right sides, which provide force feedback “to make users feel like they are pressing physical buttons.” Interestingly, Kuo states that he also expects premium Android smartphones to adopt this design quickly.

While the concept sounds strange, it makes sense. Apple has a lot of experience with haptic motors, having successfully pulled off this sensory deception trick with MacBook touchpads since 2015. The company also shrunk its haptic motors to introduce ‘3D Touch’ on the iPhone 6S but failed to make its functionality intuitive, ultimately killing off the feature with the iPhone 11.

This was a rare example of Apple making great hardware but failing to find a software application, so its return feels apt. Moving parts also carry a higher risk of failure, so the transition should increase reliability and lower repair costs. It may also increase water resistance. The tech could even be extended to offer DualSense-like feedback in games, given there will be motors on both sides of the phones.

Some questions remain, such as how cases will work (cutouts could feel strange), but it sounds like a very positive move overall. Combine this with leaks claiming Apple will introduce an iPhone 15 Ultra with a super strong titanium chassis, dual-facing front cameras, a Thunderbolt 4-powered USB-C port, alongside a new design for standard iPhone 15 models — and it looks like the excitement is returning to iPhones in 2023.

Watch this space.

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