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Rumor: iPhone 16 Pro could ditch physical buttons

Rumors that Apple is hoping to switch a future iPhone model from physical to capacitive buttons persist. Now, a new supply chain report suggests that Apple has placed a supply chain order for a new capacitive button system that will replace the physical buttons on the iPhone 16.

Last year, it was widely rumored that the iPhone 15 would switch to a new capacitive button design. Those plans, however, were scrapped due to manufacturing challenges in the months leading up to the iPhone 15’s launch.

Today’s supply chain report from the Economic Daily News says that Apple has placed an order with Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, suggesting that capacitive buttons will ship on the iPhone 16 this year. The order includes a system-in-a-package module to replace the physical buttons on both sides of the iPhone 16 with capacitive buttons instead.

This will also include adding tow additional Taptic Engine components to either side of the iPhone 16, “to allow users to have vibration feedback” when pressing the capacitive buttons.

The report explains:

It is reported that Apple needs at least two system-level package modules to integrate relevant components such as capacitive buttons and Taptic Engine motor to remove physical buttons such as volume buttons and power buttons that have been used in the iPhone for many years. The relevant system-level package modules are exclusively taken by Sun Moon Light Investment Control.

9to5Mac’s Take

I’d treat this one with some skepticism for the time being. There have been no other reports of Apple switching from physical to capacitive buttons for the iPhone 16 this year. Apple very well may have ordered capacitive button components from its supply chain partners, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the change will happen this year.

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