The iPhone 16 might switch to touch-sensitive buttons after all

It has been a while since we last year about Apple’s plans to ditch the physically moving buttons on the iPhone in favor of non-moving buttons with touch-sensitive capacitive sensors. That rumor was last floating around about a year ago when it was believed that the iPhone 15 Pro models would feature these “solid-state” buttons.

Of course, that never came to pass, and we haven’t heard a thing until now about the possibility of Apple making this change on any iPhone 16 model.

Now, a report from the Chinese state-owned paper Economic Daily claims that ASE Investment Holdings has secured a very large order from Apple for the components necessary to replace the volume and power buttons on the iPhone 16 models with solid-state capacitive buttons. Apple would reportedly also include two additional Taptic Engines—one on each side—to provide a faux “click” feel and other tactile feedback.

Details of the order are not provided, so this may be a case of mistaken translation or reporting—Apple has long been expected to add a new capacitive “Capture” button to the iPhone 16 line, on the same side as the power button but lower. This report on parts orders could be related to that, even though the newspaper mentions the previous expectations to replace the power and volume buttons.

Capacitive solid-state buttons could have several advantages over physical buttons. Durability is one; the thinnest and easiest-to-bend parts of the iPhone frame are the narrower areas where holes are cut out for the buttons. Capacitive buttons would also be able to tell how hard you’re pressing them, or could even provide features that let you slide along the button, depending on how the sensors are integrated.

Using the Taptic Engines to provide feedback would let Apple give different physical feedback for different things–you could “half press” a button and get a subtle click, and fully press it with a stronger click. Press-and-hold actions could get unique feedback as well like little “ticks” counting down a timer when resetting your iPhone.

For more on all the rumors and reports on what we can expect in this year’s new iPhones, check out or iPhone 16 FAQ.

Source : Macworld