Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a note today that predicts next year’s high-end iPhone 15 (Pro) will switch to solid-state power and volume buttons, and that flagship Android phones are expected to follow.

Kuo, who tracks smartphone manufacturer components, says the “volume button and power button of two high-end iPhone 15/2H23 new iPhone models may adopt a solid-state button design.” For Apple, the precedent is the iPhone 7, 8, and second and third-generation iPhone SE removing the physical home button. 

Presumably meant for the iPhone 15 Pro, “Taptic Engines located on the internal left and right sides to provide force feedback to make users feel like they are pressing physical buttons.” This will result in a total of three vibration motors. 

Meanwhile, Kuo says it is “expected that high-end Android smartphones will also follow Apple’s design to create new selling points.” 

Removing power and home buttons that physically indent will remove two additional ingress points for water, and help create an even more durable phone. Besides microphones, this would leave the USB-C (or Lightning Port) as the next opening that could be removed. Apple is rumored to be planning that for the iPhone. Meanwhile, under-display speakers do exist, though the quality isn’t great as seen with the Pixel 5

Kuo does not say which Android OEMs will adopt solid-state buttons just yet, but those based in China are a good initial bet. It would not be surprising for Samsung to eventually adopt as well. On the Google front, the Pixel adopting this could in theory prolong the 7 and 8’s design language. 

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Abner Li

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