New iPhone 15 Pro chip will keep solid-state buttons alive when power is very low

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2023
A new rumor claims that Apple is adapting a super-low energy mode so that whether a battery is dead, or the phone is turned off, its new buttons can react to touch.

Render of new buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro models
Render of new buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro models


Apple's A16 Bionic, and other A-series chips, already feature an energy-saving mode. It's specifically designed so functions such as Find My and Apple Pay can work when a battery is so depleted that the phone has turned off.

The new rumor says that for the iPhone 15 Pro, this functionality will be extended to include being able to sense touch on the buttons.

"The new micro-processor that will ship in the 15 Pro models will not only manage those tasks," claims leaker Anonymous A.S., "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."

This leak came on the MacRumors forum, and the publication notes that the same leaker was previously accurate about the then-forthcoming Dynamic Island.

According to this leaker, while the low power mode and button sensing is set, Apple is still testing whether or not to add Haptic feedback to the controls.

The leaker also says that those controls include an "Action" button, which replaces the Mute switch. Apple previously launched an Action button on the Apple Watch Ultra.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,826member
    Better solution: keep actual buttons. 

    Also: action button is cool so long as you also have a mute switch. 

    Never accidentally switched the mute toggle. Have accidentally pressed buttons countless times. Going to be lots of complaints with this. 
    edited March 2023 williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 12
    thttht Posts: 5,529member
    Better solution: keep actual buttons. 

    Also: action button is cool so long as you also have a mute switch. 

    Never accidentally switched the mute toggle. Have accidentally pressed buttons countless times. Going to be lots of complaints with this. 
    It's a stupid headline. I'm not sure I'm understanding the amazement here. On phones with mechanical buttons, they have to have power to work! Guess what happens when a battery is depleted? Mechanical buttons don't work. You need to plug in to charge up the battery a little before the boot firmware can power the buttons.

    All electronic devices need power for their buttons to work. These force touch buttons are no different. It's actually mechanical if they are force touch. Strange that the rumors really don't say capacitive. They always say solid-state, which isn't clear to me what it means.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 759member
    Better solution: keep actual buttons. 

    Also: action button is cool so long as you also have a mute switch. 

    Never accidentally switched the mute toggle. Have accidentally pressed buttons countless times. Going to be lots of complaints with this. 
    None of these are better solutions as they don’t push any technology forward. You’ll figure out how to deal with these new buttons like the rest of us. 
    9secondkox2Japheywilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,865moderator
    Without power to the device, what's the point of the buttons working?  That shouldn't be left for the reader to determine.  
    appleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,826member
    tht said:
    Better solution: keep actual buttons. 

    Also: action button is cool so long as you also have a mute switch. 

    Never accidentally switched the mute toggle. Have accidentally pressed buttons countless times. Going to be lots of complaints with this. 
    It's a stupid headline. I'm not sure I'm understanding the amazement here. On phones with mechanical buttons, they have to have power to work! Guess what happens when a battery is depleted? Mechanical buttons don't work. You need to plug in to charge up the battery a little before the boot firmware can power the buttons.

    All electronic devices need power for their buttons to work. These force touch buttons are no different. It's actually mechanical if they are force touch. Strange that the rumors really don't say capacitive. They always say solid-state, which isn't clear to me what it means.
    AI and others are using similar “solid state” to mean touch sensitive. 

    Might be better for water-proofing, but some obvious usability caveats. 
    edited March 2023 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,826member
    igorsky said:
    Better solution: keep actual buttons. 

    Also: action button is cool so long as you also have a mute switch. 

    Never accidentally switched the mute toggle. Have accidentally pressed buttons countless times. Going to be lots of complaints with this. 
    None of these are better solutions as they don’t push any technology forward. You’ll figure out how to deal with these new buttons like the rest of us. 
    Incorrect. Technology doesn’t move forward when it pushes usability backward. The point of technology is to make life better. This does not fit that criteria. As mentioned previous, there may be some benefit such as better waterproofing or longer button life, but there are usability drawbacks and more accidental registration opportunities. 
    edited March 2023 williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 12
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 906member
    tht said:

    Strange that the rumors really don't say capacitive. They always say solid-state, which isn't clear to me what it means.
    I don't think these will be capacitive in the sense of touch alone activating anything--like sliding your finger up to increase volume and down to decrease. Obviously, on a phone, this would a disastrous interface of unintended touches. I think these will be straight up solid state haptic feedback buttons. Meaning: to activate the solid state button, you push with the same force you use to activate the current mechanical buttons, and the haptic feedback will make it feel like a mechanical button, even though there's actually no mechanical movement. Same thing as when you "click" on a Magic Trackpad. For the mute haptic button, I imagine this will require a long push, or a double push to avoid accidentally muting your phone. None of this is new to Apple products. The benefit to the iPhone is greater water resistance and longer term reliability. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    thttht Posts: 5,529member
    charlesn said:
    tht said:

    Strange that the rumors really don't say capacitive. They always say solid-state, which isn't clear to me what it means.
    I don't think these will be capacitive in the sense of touch alone activating anything--like sliding your finger up to increase volume and down to decrease. Obviously, on a phone, this would a disastrous interface of unintended touches. I think these will be straight up solid state haptic feedback buttons. Meaning: to activate the solid state button, you push with the same force you use to activate the current mechanical buttons, and the haptic feedback will make it feel like a mechanical button, even though there's actually no mechanical movement. Same thing as when you "click" on a Magic Trackpad. For the mute haptic button, I imagine this will require a long push, or a double push to avoid accidentally muting your phone. None of this is new to Apple products. The benefit to the iPhone is greater water resistance and longer term reliability. 
    If this is the case, they should just say Force Touch or haptic touch. These are mechanical buttons. They have a horizontal vibration that makes the users feel as if they are pushing down on it, with the horizontal vibration and the force of pushing down making it feel like a click.

    If it is like this, cases will have to leave the buttons exposed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 906member
    tht said:
    charlesn said:
    I don't think these will be capacitive in the sense of touch alone activating anything--like sliding your finger up to increase volume and down to decrease. Obviously, on a phone, this would a disastrous interface of unintended touches. I think these will be straight up solid state haptic feedback buttons. Meaning: to activate the solid state button, you push with the same force you use to activate the current mechanical buttons, and the haptic feedback will make it feel like a mechanical button, even though there's actually no mechanical movement. Same thing as when you "click" on a Magic Trackpad. For the mute haptic button, I imagine this will require a long push, or a double push to avoid accidentally muting your phone. None of this is new to Apple products. The benefit to the iPhone is greater water resistance and longer term reliability. 
    If this is the case, they should just say Force Touch or haptic touch. These are mechanical buttons. They have a horizontal vibration that makes the users feel as if they are pushing down on it, with the horizontal vibration and the force of pushing down making it feel like a click.

    If it is like this, cases will have to leave the buttons exposed.
    Well, I learn something new all the time on the AI forum. It never occurred to me that a haptic button would have to be left exposed. In fact, I thought you were wrong, so I conducted a quick experiment: I covered my Magic Trackpad with Apple's clear iPhone case, then pushed on the trackpad and... nothing. No "click" and no activation. That really surprised me because, for obvious reasons, I never cover my trackpad. Then I removed the IPhone case and covered the trackpad with a heavyweight microfiber cloth. I pushed again and this time it clicked and activated. So it's possible to cover the button (at least fabric) and still have it work. ... I guess the button could be left exposed and protected from damage in drops by a raised lip around it. Or, case makers will figure out how to cover the buttons with a material that will allow for button activation. They figured out how to do this reliably with MagSafe (yes, different solution needed but kind of the same idea), so I'm guessing that will not be an issue IF this new button is actually implemented on the iPhone. You can still find all of the "absolutely, positively, this-is-it" renders of the Apple Watch 7 with a flat-sided design, so even "reliable" rumors aren't necessarily true. 
    edited March 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,929member
    igorsky said:
    Better solution: keep actual buttons. 

    Also: action button is cool so long as you also have a mute switch. 

    Never accidentally switched the mute toggle. Have accidentally pressed buttons countless times. Going to be lots of complaints with this. 
    None of these are better solutions as they don’t push any technology forward. You’ll figure out how to deal with these new buttons like the rest of us. 
    Incorrect. Technology doesn’t move forward when it pushes usability backward. The point of technology is to make life better. This does not fit that criteria. As mentioned previous, there may be some benefit such as better waterproofing or longer button life, but there are usability drawbacks and more accidental registration opportunities. 
    You’re in absolutely no position to make such claims that it doesn’t make things better, because you’re just some dude reading a rumor site - you have zero understanding or experience with the feature in question. 

    Also, lots of technology has moved forward despite usability critiques or costs. Take the touch screen — arguably touchscreen buttons suck compared to physical (I dial numbers on my iphone without looking at the screen, unlike my old phones where I could dial by touch alone), but the flexibility of touch panels make them worth it. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    jbtuckrjbtuckr Posts: 28member
    I work in phone repair, and I like this idea. The amount of people that come in with buttons sealed shut or made basically useless from grime, ESPECIALLY the mute switch, would astonish all of you. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,929member
    correction: I *cant* dial number on my iPhone without looking at the screen. A usability tradeoff with touch compared to physical buttons 
    watto_cobra
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