Apple Watch Rumored to Adopt Solid State Buttons With Haptic Feedback

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It is expected that, later this year, Apple is going to introduce a brand new Apple Watch series, which may adopt not only new features (some of which we saw with watchOS 5 during WWDC 2018), but also a new physical design.

That physical design will see a few tweaks to familiar elements, too, if a new report from Fast Company pans out. According to a report on Friday, Apple will adopt what is called “solid state buttons”, which don’t actually have any travel at all. So you won’t be pressing any buttons on an upcoming Apple Watch model, but rather adopt the Taptic Engine to offer haptic feedback.

“Apple will stick with the Watch’s current button configuration, with a button and a digital crown situated on one side of the device, but neither will physically click as before. Rather than reacting to the user’s touch by physically moving back and forth, the new buttons will vibrate slightly under the fingertip, using the haptic effect Apple calls the Taptic Engine. (The digital crown will still physically rotate to navigate through content.)”

If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a path that Apple has traveled before. It would be similar technology to what Apple introduced with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Home buttons. Those did not actually press in, as the button had done in previous iterations of the iPhone, but would rather offer haptic feedback when “pressed”.

As to the reason why Apple will go this route, it’s likely due to improved water resistance and saving space within the Apple Watch enclosure. And as far as when this might happen, Apple could launch the redesigned Apple Watch as early as later this year, with the oft-rumored Series 4. However, the report also states that if Apple can’t finalize the changes for this year, they’ll make the cut next year.

Up to this point, this particular change from previous series hasn’t been mentioned. We have heard that the Apple Watch Series 4 will feature a larger battery, though, as well as a 15% bigger display.

Our Take

The next model of the Apple Watch sounds like it is going to be a pretty exciting device. Hopefully we get to see all of these changes at once. Even better if we get it this year.

[via Fast Company]