Following the unveiling of watchOS 5 on Monday, a new report from Fast Company claims Apple is looking to adopt solid state buttons with haptic feedback for future Apple Watch models, including the Apple Watch Series 4 and/or models released in 2019.
Apple first introduced solid state buttons with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Home button, creating a button thats functionality is all digital, but when pressed feels like a traditional physical button. For example; on the iPhone 7 when a user presses the Home button, the button doesn’t push in, it’s actually a solid piece of glass, however; the iPhone provides haptic feedback (a small vibration) to simulate pressing a physical button.
The benefits of introducing solid state buttons on the Apple Watch include increasing the wearables water resistance and also leaving room inside the device for a bigger battery or other components.
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.)
Although the report suggests the new solid state buttons could launch later in the year as part of the Apple Watch Series 4 upgrade, however; its worth pointing out that the feature could be pushed back to later models including 2019’s release or later.