It’s only been a week since Apple launched the latest iPhone 15 series, and fresh new rumors about the next version of the world’s most popular smartphone are already starting to make rounds.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple had plans to use a capacitive touch button on the iPhone 15 that would be placed below the sleep/wake button but scrapped it altogether sometime during the development phase. The company did add a new customizable button on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models called the Action Button, which came as a replacement for the iconic mute switch.
Unlike mechanical buttons, capacitive buttons do not press down when pushed. Instead, they detect pressure and touch and provide feedback through a built-in haptic engine to the device, making it notice that the button was pressed by the user and respond accordingly.
Apple first introduced a capacitive button on the iPhone 7, where it replaced the mechanical Home button housing the TouchID with one powered by the haptic engine that mimics the press of a physical button.
Apple Is Testing A New Capacitive Touch Button For iPhone 16 Series
Various reports are speculating that Cupertino could add an additional “Capture Button” on all iPhone 16 models. According to an anonymous source who spoke to MacRumors, the new button will be capacitive touch and probably be placed below the sleep/wake button. Although the purpose of the mystery button was not made clear, the name suggests that it could be a dedicated camera shutter for the iPhone.
Moreover, it was also reported that Apple will be converting the Action Button into a capacitive button while maintaining the sleep/wake and volume up and down buttons as mechanical.
Sources say the Capture Button is codenamed “Project Nova” and the transformation of the Action Button is called “Project Atlas”.
Project Nova could move the millimeter wave (mmWave) cutout below the sleep/wake button to the opposite side of the phone, where it will be placed below the volume rocker. The left side of the device will have a capacitive Action Button, volume buttons, and the mmWave cutout, while the right side will have a sleep/wake button and the new capacitive Capture Button.
Sources say the Capture Button’s placement will be in alignment with the discontinued Smart Battery Case for iPhone 11 that featured a dedicated camera shutter button. With the iPhone 15 Pros, you can configure the Action Button to act as a shutter.
iPhone 16 Cameras Will Be Upgraded To Support Spatial Video
The Capture Button would be a welcome addition for the iPhone considering how powerful its cameras are and how filmmakers and photographers are using it professionally.
The new arrangement will be for iPhones with a physical SIM slot, which is sold outside the United States. This means the iPhone 16 will be the model with the most number of elements on the outer frame.
There were mentions about the cameras on the forthcoming iPhones, with the baseline iPhone 16 and 16 plus returning to a stacked camera orientation, and the Pro variants getting Teraprism 5x zoom cameras that were introduced on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
If rumors are true, the change in camera orientation will be intended for recording spatial video, which is supported by the upcoming Apple Vision Pro AR headsets. Spatial video was announced with the iPhone 15 Pro Max and will be added to the device via a software update before the end of the year.
iPhone 16 Could Have Capacitive Sleep/Wake And Volume Buttons
During the early development phase for the iPhone 15 Pro, Apple experimented with replacing the mechanical power and volume buttons with something similar to the Action Button and the rumored Capture Button under a project codenamed “Bongo”.
However, sources say that Project Bongo was binned after test results were “unsatisfactory” and the phone developed a large number of hardware issues. But the cancellation has given Apple’s developers much room to figure out what went wrong and reengineer the capacitive buttons for the iPhone 16 series.
Reports suggest that Apple will be introducing the Capture Button on all four models of the iPhone 16 lineup. The company has also created variants without the capacitive button in case there is a high hardware failure rate after release. The Capture Button will be found on iPhones with eSIM support and the ones that have physical SIM card slots.
“Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 16, 16 Plus, 16 Pro, and 16 Pro Max in September 2024.”