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Apple Orders Capacitive Button Components Allegedly for iPhone 16

Apple has ordered a large number of capacitative button components from a Taiwan supplier that are allegedly for use in the upcoming iPhone 16 series, claims a new report out of Asia.

Image credit: Unbox Therapy

According to the Economic Daily News, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering won the order, which is said to include system-in-a-package (SIP) modules that will be used to integrate capcative components with two Taptic Engine motors, one on either side of the iPhone.

The claim in the report is that Apple will replace the existing physical buttons on both sides of the iPhone 15 with capacitive versions that will provide ‌iPhone 16‌ users with haptic feedback. The latter type of button detects pressure and emulates the press of a physical button via a haptic (or Taptic) engine which generates vibrations.

Apple may well have ordered the buttons in preparation for future production plans, but this does not necessarily mean that they are destined for use in this year's ‌iPhone 16‌ models.

The earliest known prototypes of the ‌‌iPhone 16‌‌ were thought to include haptic power and volume buttons. Project Bongo, as it was known internally, was a redesign of the volume and power buttons on the ‌iPhone 15‌. However, it was scrapped in 2023 following unresolved technical issues, according to MacRumors' sources. After the cancelation of the Bongo project, Apple moved back to mechanical buttons for the ‌‌iPhone 16‌‌.

As a result, most rumors suggest that ‌iPhone 16‌ models will have all-mechanical buttons, and this includes the rumored addition of a fourth button. According to The Information, Apple will add a new "Capture Button" to all ‌iPhone 16‌ models, but the button is expected to be mechanical rather than capacitive, and yet it will be able to respond to pressure and touch.

The button will be used for taking photos and videos, and ‌iPhone‌ users will reportedly be able to zoom in and out by swiping left and right on the button, focus with a light press, and activate a recording with a more forceful press.

Today's report claims the capacitive components will enter volume production in the third quarter of this year, which is unusually late in terms of Apple's typical initial ‌iPhone‌ production run, so the order may be for the ‌iPhone‌ 17 lineup rather than this year's upcoming models. That said, as we saw with the ‌‌iPhone 15‌‌ series, things can change fairly far into the process, so watch this space.
Related Roundups: iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Pro

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Source: TechRadar

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