New Apple Leak Reveals iPhone 15 Design Shock

Apple’s iPhone 15 range has been tipped to make big changes, both externally and internally, but now a truly dazzling design change has leaked out.

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 the code name.

Last month, anonymous leaker ShrimpApplePro tweeted that Apple is working on an “iPhone without a physical button.” Project code name ‘Bongo’.” The lack of context around the time frame meant it was widely overlooked and written off by many as being years away. But Kuo changed all that.

“My latest research indicates that the volume rocker and power button of two high-end iPhone 15/2H23 new iPhone models can 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 Apple will put Taptic Engines (the company’s branding for haptic engines) on the internal left and right sides of the new iPhones, which will provide force feedback “to make users feel like they’re pressing physical buttons.” Interestingly, Kuo states that he also expects premium Android smartphones to adopt this design soon.

While the concept sounds strange, it makes sense. Apple has a lot of experience with haptic motors and has successfully performed this sensory deception trick since 2015 with MacBook touchpads. The company also downsized its haptic engines to introduce “3D Touch” on the iPhone 6S, but failed to make its functionality intuitive, eventually killing the feature with the iPhone 11.

This was a rare example of Apple making great hardware but failing to find a software application, so the return feels fitting. Moving parts also have a higher risk of failure, so the transition should increase reliability and reduce repair costs. It can also increase water resistance. The technology could even be expanded to provide DualSense-like feedback in games as there will be motors on both sides of the phones.

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

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