iPhone 15 Pro Models to Get Taptic Buttons, Titanium Chassis, Sources Say

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This year Apple’s iPhone lineup saw a major deviation where the company put its fastest A16 silicon in just the Pro models. This left the non-Pro phones to use last year’s A15 SoC, which is still plenty fast. Still, it marked a big departure for Apple. For 2023’s iPhone 15, it’s going to be reportedly doubling down on that practice by giving its Pro phones even more exclusive features. The plan seems to be it’ll hopefully motivate people to spend more on the Pro phones.

One of the biggest rumored changes is Apple will do away with mechanical buttons. It currently uses those for volume and power. Instead, it’ll be moving to a solid-state design. This technology works along with taptic engines to trick your brain into thinking you clicked or tapped a button. It works surprisingly well most of the time, despite it being akin to engineering voodoo. Apple first implemented it on the iPhone 7’s Home button as well as on the trackpads for MacBooks starting in 2015. It’s unclear how a user will be able to turn the phone on when it’s completely off. Its current solid-state “buttons” are lifeless when the device is powered down, so that’ll be an issue Apple will have to solve.

How Apple’s solid-state trackpad functions in concert with the taptic engine. (Image: Apple)

Another big change, according to MacRumors, is the chassis will be made from titanium. Previously it used stainless steel for the Pro phones and aluminum for the base model devices. Apple currently only uses titanium on its Apple Watch Ultra. This metal would certainly give the phone a premium feel, and would also offer strength without excessive weight. This could also help it be more resistant to scratches than current phones.

The titanium chassis will reportedly be part of a larger redesign of the phone. It’s thought that Apple will be moving away from the iPhone 4-based design it’s used for the 12, 13, and 14 models. Instead, it’ll be returning to a “bar of soap” design, at least for the back, which will have curved edges. The design will mimic the bottom of the redesigned MacBook Pros.

In addition to the button and chassis changes, Apple is also rumored to be adding more memory to the Pro models. The current iPhone 14 Pro has just 6GB of memory, but Apple will be bumping that up to 8GB. Apple has always been cagey about the amount of memory in its phones. Generally speaking, it’s been able to get away with using less memory than its competitors so it doesn’t like to talk about it. However, 6GB is falling behind the times, as some current Android phones have up to 16GB.

Apple will announce the iPhone 15 at its September event. Despite previous reports that the new iPhone 14 Plus hasn’t sold well, the company will likely try again with the 15 Plus. Otherwise, the Pro models are expected to pack A17 silicon made on TSMC’s 3nm process. They’ll also feature a USB-C connector, a first for Apple. The company will allegedly introduce periscope lens technology on the Pros as well. This will allow for a level of optical zoom that wasn’t possible before.

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