Ming-Chi Kuo's prediction that the iPhone 15 Pro won't include Solid-State Buttons has been Cryptically Confirmed by Cirrus Logic
Last month Patently Apple posted a report that covered Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's latest research which stated that due to unresolved technical issues before mass production, both high-end iPhone 15 Pro models (Pro & Pro Max) will abandon the closely-watched solid-state button design and revert to the traditional physical button design.
Kuo further noted that this change would be particularly unfavorable for Cirrus Logic (exclusive Controller IC supplier) and AAC Technologies (Taptic Engine supplier).
Kuo's prediction seems to have been spot on as a Cirrus Logic Q2-2023 shareholder letter revealed a note stating that "among the HPMS [High Performance Mixed Signal chip] opportunities we have discussed, a new product that we mentioned in previous shareholder letters as being scheduled for introduction this fall is no longer expected to come to market as planned. As we have limited visibility into our customer’s future plans for this product at this time, we are removing the revenue associated with this component from our internal mode."
The message is highly cryptic being that it doesn't mention Apple nor "Solid-State Buttons." According to MacRumors, HPMS refers to Cirrus Logic's high-performance, mixed-signal chips, which includes haptic drivers for the Taptic Engine in iPhones." Still, that doesn't necessarily translate to solid-state buttons.
MacRumors also refers to a November 2022 Cirrus Logic Shareholder Letter. Under the header High-Performance Mixed-Signal they stated that "We maintain a strong relationship with our key customer in this area and are collaborating to develop a next-generation camera controller that offers increased signal processing bandwidth and functionality, while also improving overall system performance compared to our current generation ICs. In that same paragraph they noted that "Finally, we continue to engage with a strategic customer and expect to bring a new HPMS component to market in smartphones next year."
The mention of a "next-generation camera controller" is clear cut. The mention of "A new HPMS components for smartphones" is cryptic and a little difficult to understand the leap made to it translating to solid-state buttons.
With that said, Ming-Chi Kuo's April announcement that Apple dropped solid-state buttons for the iPhone Pro appears to have been solid research that we can take to the bank.