Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are going to divide opinion thanks to a combination of price increases and moderate design changes. And now we know more about the most controversial of them — thanks to Apple.
Spotted by 9to5Mac, code in the newly released iOS 17 beta 7 points to the so-called ‘Action Button,’ which will replace the beloved mute switch on both iPhone 15 Pro models.
The code reveals enhanced haptic feedback patterns, specifically for toggling Silent Mode off as well as on. Historically, iOS had a simple haptic notification when users activated Silent Mode, but there was no such feedback when deactivating it. After all, such feedback was unnecessary, given users were using a physical switch to silence their phones.
This all changes with a solid-state Action button that has no physical movement, and the phone will need to notify users when turning mute both on and off. Moreover, 9to5Mac states that the new haptic pattern for toggling silent mode feels like “feels like a single firm tap” — it all adds up.
While it’s good to see Apple thinking about the usability of the Action Button, the discovery of additional haptic feedback will only strengthen the conviction of users who feel its inclusion is unnecessary. The mute switch has become muscle memory for millions of iPhone owners around the world.
But there are upsides. Earlier iOS 17 beta code revealed the Action Button will be customizable with a wide variety of potential functions: Accessibility, Shortcuts, Silent Mode, Camera, Flashlight, Focus, Magnifier, Translate and Voice Memos. Whether multiple functions can be assigned to different press combinations, pressures, or gestures remains to be seen.
Moreover, a solid-state button should be more durable than the mute switch, collect less dirt and grime and increase water resistance. Done right, the change should be a win-win for buyers, and I’d expect Apple to introduce it across all iPhone 16 models if customer feedback is positive.
In addition to this leak, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max (possibly renamed Ultra) will move to a titanium chassis, have record breaking thin bezels, super-fast USB-C ports, and a next-gen 3nm A17 chip, while the Pro Max will exclusively get Apple’s first 10x optical zoom lens.
The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will get an iPhone 14 Pro-inspired upgrade with a Dynamic Island design, A16 chip and matching 48-megapixel primary camera, but they are likely to avoid the big price hikes headed for Pro models.
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