Apple supplier Cirrus Logic may have vaguely hinted that next year’s iPhone 15 Pro models will feature tactile buttons, according to research firm Barclays. The Texas-based semiconductor company said in a letter to shareholders this month that it continues to “build a strategic customer relationship” and hopes to “bring the new HPMS component to the smartphone market next year.” HPMS belongs to Cirrus Logic’s high-performance mixed-signal chips, which includes haptic drivers for the iPhone’s Taptic Engine.
In a phone call with analysts this month, Cirrus Logic CEO John Forsythe cut the time required for this new component to launch “to the back half of next year” to be compatible with the iPhone 15 Pro models due next September.
In a note to investors last week, Barclays analysts Blaine Curtis and Tom O’Malley said that the new component mentioned by Cirrus Logic will likely be part of additional Taptic Engines for tactile buttons on iPhone 15 Pro models:
The biggest change in our thinking here is to model the $1 new content on the IP15 Pro models. To be clear, the company hasn’t said much here except that the chip is mixed-signal and not in the power field. Looking at potential use cases, the biggest change to next year’s new iPhone models will be the removal of buttons, which will require additional drivers for the haptic mechanism, making it the most likely use case for new content.
In October, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the iPhone 15 Pro models will have solid-state volume and power buttons. Kuo said the devices will feature two additional Taptic mechanisms that provide haptic feedback to simulate the feeling of pressing buttons without physically moving them, similar to the Home button on the latest iPhone SE models or the Force Touch trackpad on the new MacBooks. Tactile buttons on iPhone can provide even better water resistance and get rid of moving parts that can wear out or break over time. But the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are still expected to have mechanical buttons.
Source: Port Altele