Future Apple Watch to Adopt Solid State Buttons With Haptic Feedback

A future version of the Apple Watch will be updated with solid state buttons that don't physically click but instead use a Taptic Engine to provide haptic feedback to users, reports Fast Company.

Apple will continue to use a two button configuration with a Digital Crown and a Side button, but neither button will be a traditional physical button.

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.)

What Fast Company is describing is the same solid state button design that Apple first introduced with the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus Home button. These devices, and later iPhones with a Home button, use solid state buttons that provide haptic feedback from the built-in Taptic Engine to mimic a button press. Apple uses a similar method for its MacBook and MacBook Pro trackpads, which also lack physical buttons.

Solid state buttons will improve water resistance in the Apple Watch and also take up less space, leaving more room for a bigger battery or other components. Fast Company's source also alleges Apple is working on using the top of the buttons as sensors to gather health-related data like heart rhythms as some types of measurements require more than one point of contact with a user's skin.

According to Fast Company, the Apple Watch could adopt solid state buttons as early as 2018, but if the feature doesn't make it into the 2018 Apple Watch models, solid state buttons will be introduced in 2019. In the future, beyond 2019, Apple is also said to be working towards a watch that has no buttons at all, with the sides of the device designed to respond to touch and swipe-based gestures.

Previous 2018 Apple Watch rumors have made no mention of solid state buttons, but we have heard that the fourth-generation Apple Watch models could feature a display that's 15 percent larger, perhaps through a reduction in bezel size. New models are also said to feature a longer battery life and improved health monitoring capabilities.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
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27 months ago
So I can't push the button with standard gloves on?

Isn't that the button I need to push in emergencies?!?
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
Please get rid of the Terminator red eye dot looking at us
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
I'm wondering how they'll do a solid state digital crown.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
I always felt this was obvious.

Why have a physical wheel (crown) that actually spins?
You need a shaft and waterproofing.
And it's pointless.
With today's tech, you can have the exact same looking wheel, but its stationary, and as you move your finger tip across it as you do now, instead of it physically spinning, it's surface just detects your finger movement and passes on the movement to the watch.

Think of it exactly like the iPod circular control dial/disk.
You ran your finger around it, to do things just as you would have a moving wheel.
But your finger just slipped over the surface, and it stayed still

I knew this was going to happen as it's so obvious and the user experience will be 99/9% the same as it is now.
With e benefit of no moving parts.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago

I’m not crazy about moves like this. There’s nothing that lets you know you’ve pushed a button on a device better than feeling the click but I get that the more they can seal up a device the better they can water proof it.

It literally feels like a click.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
Going down the force touch route for Apple Watch, I think it's a good idea. This will probably allow each individual user to set their feedback levels differently to suit their preferences.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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