New Apple Leak Reveals iPhone 15 Design Surprise


03/12 Update below. This post was originally published on March 9

iPhone 15 leaks tell us that Apple is reserving its most exciting and most controversial upgrades for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Now a new leak has revealed exactly how the most divisive change will work, and it is unlike anything we have seen on a smartphone before.

Published on the MacRumors forum by the same source who revealed the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island last year, the leak states that the solid-state volume buttons coming to iPhone 15 Pro models will work at all times — surprisingly, even when the battery is dead.

The insider states that this functionality is all down to an all-new micro-processor coming to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, which will replace Apple’s ‘Super Low Energy Mode’ used on current models. Super Low Energy Mode is currently capable of using Apple Pay and activating Bluetooth for the Find My Network when the battery is dead.

“The new micro-processor that will ship in the 15 Pro models will not only manage those tasks, but will also be able to immediately sense capacitive button presses, holds, and even detect their own version of 3D Touch with the new volume up/down button, action (currently ringer switch) button, and power button, while the phone is dead or powered down,” explains the insider.

“The new micro-processor will also take on the Find My, Bluetooth/UW, and Apple Pay express card features (previously managed by the SoP with low energy), while the phone is off, greatly improving power consumption during those down-times.”

Interestingly, the leaker states that Apple is currently testing two configurations of the capacitive volume buttons. The first adjusts the volume by swiping up and down, the second uses presses with the speed of adjustment determined by the pressure applied. This strongly suggests the buttons will have 3D Touch-like functionality.

What is missing from the leaker’s information are details about the new solid-state mute button. Skepticism has been high about moving away from the switch design iPhones have used since they first launched in 2007. That said, MacRumors notes the mute button is likely to be programmable, unleashing the potential for an Apple Watch Ultra-style Action button. Something that is likely to excite a lot of iPhone fans.

What else is there to get excited about? As has become custom, upgrades to standard iPhone 15 models will be smaller, with an update to the iPhone 14 Pro design and Dynamic Island, A16 chip and USB-C (with MFi restrictions).

The bigger changes are reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max with leaks claiming they will have the world’s thinnest bezels, a stunning new A17 chip, upgraded LiDAR, and a gigantic rear camera. On the flip side, buyers can expect iPhone 15 Pro prices to rise substantially — living on the bleeding edge doesn’t come cheap.

03/12 Update: the MacRumors leaker has returned with more details about the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max capacitive buttons, and it is exciting news.

In a new post, the leaker — who revealed several accurate iPhone 14 details last year — revealed that the “capacitive buttons will work very well with gloves and cases.” This is down to a sensitivity option iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max owners will be able to access in settings.

The leaker also states that Apple is referring to the mute switch’s solid-state replacement as the ‘Action Button’ — the same terminology the company uses for the custom button on the Apple Watch Ultra. If, as expected, the company implements the button the same way, users would be able to select from an array of quick launch options, such as the camera.

That said, the company could go a step further and mirror its implementation of the Double Tap setting, which would open up custom Shortcut options, covering everything from HomeKit automation tasks to ordering your favorite coffee from Starbucks. The possibilities are almost endless and would mark a radical reinvention of the mute switch that may just convince the masses it needed an overhaul.

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