The iPhone 15 Pro models should have featured solid-state buttons instead of physical ones. Similar to the trackpad on MacBooks that doesn’t actually move, the buttons appeared in a variety of rumors earlier this year.
But that suddenly stopped a few weeks ago. iPhone 15 rumors changed tune. Leakers said that Apple had run into manufacturing issues and decided to postpone the solid-state buttons for later. The only button that could see changes this year is the mute switch.
iPhone rumors can’t usually be confirmed ahead of a product’s launch. But a supplier seems to have hinted at the purported iPhone 15 Pro button design change. And they signaled the cancelation might be real.
Cirrus Logic is the supplier in question. MacRumors picked up this quote in the company’s recent letter to shareholders:
That said, among the HPMS opportunities we have discussed, 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. While this is undeniably a setback, we are proud of our execution in this program. Our customer relationship remains very strong as we continue to collaborate on a range of technologies and products in the HPMS space.
Well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo mentioned Cirrus Logic as the primary winner of Apple’s solid-state button orders for the iPhone 15 Pro. That was back in January.
Cirrus Logic is the primary winner for canceling physical buttons and the change to adopt solid-state buttons on the 2H23 high-end iPhone 15 models. https://t.co/CNfZOYwRXn
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) January 11, 2023
Then, in mid-April, the same analyst detailed Apple’s decision to cancel the switch to solid-state buttons for the iPhone 15 Pro. Kuo indicated that Cirrus Logic will be impacted as a result.
Two iPhone 15 Pro models’ removal of solid-state button design negatively affects Cirrus Logic and AAC / 兩款iPhone 15 Pro取消固態按鍵設計不利Cirrus Logic與瑞聲科技https://t.co/Ot81sCQzgk
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) April 12, 2023
HPMS stands for high-performance mixed-signal chips that power Taptic Engines in iPhones. The solid-state buttons would have required additional Taptic Engines inside the handset. Kuo previously said that the iPhone 15 Pro models would have featured two additional Taptic Engines to power the solid-state buttons.
Cirrus Logic’s comments in the newsletter seem to indicate that a future collaboration is possible. However, that’s just speculation at this point.
Apple doesn’t usually comment on iPhone features it cancels during development. But should the iPhone 15 Pros get an Action button instead of a traditional mute switch, that could indicate that Apple is indeed looking to replace all physical buttons on the iPhone.