A new iPhone 15 Pro leak suggests that the upcoming smartphone may ditch a design feature that has always been present in iPhones: the mute switch.
As noted Mac rumors (opens in a new tab), leaker ShrimpApplePro posted a video leaked to its Chinese TikTok counterpart that shows some new CAD (computer-aided design) images of the iPhone 15 Pro series. This video suggests that the “Pro” models of the iPhone 15 series could make some significant button tweaks.
The images confirm previous rumors that next-gen phones will replace the traditional double volume buttons with a single button. More controversially, it looks like the “mute switch” that has existed since the first iPhone in 2007 will now be turned into a button.
More cads images Buttons! Source in video pic.twitter.com/sxy9GaNCreMarch 20, 2023
While this may not sound like a ground-shattering design change, it would likely divide opinion – especially among those who are used to the mute switch and volume buttons, which have a completely different feel and action, for tweaking “no looks”.
Rumors also suggest that both the volume and mute buttons will use haptic feedback rather than mechanical movement to provide the feel of a button press. It’s something we’re seeing more and more on both smartphones and laptops, and Apple is likely aiming to make everything tactile.
If you don’t like the sound of these button changes, you’ll be happy to hear that they’re apparently not coming to every new iPhone this year. Rumors suggest that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models will still have two separate volume buttons and a mute switch if you want to rely on the iPhone’s usual muscle memory.
A wise decision?
The removal of the mute switch in the new iPhone 15 Pro series can be seen as a step backwards – after all, generations of iPhone users know a distinctly different way to operate the switch than the volume buttons.
But there may also be a method to Apple’s apparent meddling. An extra button on the side of the iPhone 15 Pro series could open the door to some software customizations that could make it a bit more versatile.
If instead the mute function were simply toggled on or off in software, that button could become, for example, the very distinct camera shutter button that now doubles as a “volume up” button. Since the latter seems similar to its “volume down” counterpart, it’s easy to press the wrong button when taking photos.
Of course, this is all speculation for now, but if Apple is indeed changing a design feature that has been present in the iPhone for 15 years, it probably has a good functional reason for doing so, aside from simply needing a design refresh.
There’s still plenty of time for more leaks in the run-up to the expected launch of the iPhone 15 in the first half of September, so expect more design hints – including the prospect of the slimmest iPhone 15 Pro Max ever – in the coming months.