Rumors for the Apple iPhone 15 have been on the rise lately, and if the rumors turn out to be true, it could be the biggest change for the iPhone. There have been several reports floating around about the position of the buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, specifically that they’re rumored to have a single volume rocker, and the mute switch will be replaced with a single button — all solid. – State too.
The latest rumor is that the iPhone 15 Pro mute switch cannot be replaced with a mute button. Instead, it could actually be a multi-use action button like the one on the Apple Watch Ultra. If this is the case, it could be one of the biggest changes in iPhone hardware design, with plenty of benefits… but also a huge downside.
An action button can benefit everyone
I really like the idea of the iPhone 15 Pro getting a multi-use action button. To be honest, one of the first things I do when I get a new phone is put it on mute. I find the sounds of alerts and notifications annoying and distracting, so I don’t listen to them at all. Sometimes I leave the ringtone on for calls in emergencies, but I have an Apple Watch, so if an important call comes in, I usually feel the vibration if I have my phone on my wrist or in my pocket.
When the Apple Watch Ultra was released, although it took me a while to get used to the new design, I really liked the idea of a customizable action button. By default, it’s set to execute workouts, but users can customize it to do other things, including executing programmed shortcuts from the Shortcuts app.
If the iPhone 15 Pro gets an action button, I’ll use it more than a mute switch or button. I think the default action might be to “turn off” the phone, but there are many other great use cases. For example, it can be used to activate Do Not Disturb, launch the camera app, turn the flashlight on and off, lock the screen rotation, capture a screenshot, toggle light/dark mode, and more.
In all of this, can we take a moment to appreciate the convenience of a potential camera shortcut? I can’t tell you how many times the lock screen camera app shortcut doesn’t work properly and I miss a precious moment with my daughter. If I could program a button in the hardware to quickly access the camera app, that would be a godsend. But I want to double press the action button to turn off the phone or enable low power mode.
While I’m not entirely sold on Apple removing the mute switch and replacing it with a button, I think there’s a lot more potential if it’s an action button rather than a mute button. I mentioned what I would use it for, and I think many people do something similar. Being able to customize what the iPhone action button can do opens up a whole world of possibilities, especially when you can associate it with a shortcut you’ve created or downloaded.
The other side is not always green
Of course, as great as an action button is, it won’t be great for everyone. After getting a mute switch on the iPhone since 2007, plenty of people have developed muscle memory by placing it and can easily disable the iPhone in their pockets. It also eliminates the need to pull out the phone and check the screen to make sure it’s silent, whether in the theater, during a class lecture, or during a work meeting.
While the rumored action button will be used to enable/disable silent mode, it won’t be as convenient as the existing switch. The mute switch made the iPhone accessible to many people because you could physically tell whether the device was muted or not by placing the switch. Removing such a switch and replacing it with a button makes it less accessible.
If Apple goes this route, why couldn’t they add a separate action button or make the side button programmable for things other than Siri or voice control?
Apple recently announced that The wait for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro at WWDC 2023 on June 5 is not far off. Apple usually releases the next-generation iPhones in September, so we’ll have to wait a little longer to see what it actually does.
Still, the idea of an action button piques my interest, and I hope Apple makes it more accessible and convenient like the Switch.