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.

applewatchseries3

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 Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

garylapointe Avatar
40 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)
Bpa260 Avatar
40 months ago
Please get rid of the Terminator red eye dot looking at us
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wanted797 Avatar
40 months ago
I'm wondering how they'll do a solid state digital crown.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Piggie Avatar
40 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)
Uplift Avatar
40 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)
826317 Avatar
40 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)

Top Stories

16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
2021 back t0 school

Apple Launches 2021 Back to School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac or iPad Purchase

Thursday June 17, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models. Similar to last year's promotion, this year's offer includes free AirPods alongside the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, the new 24-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, Mac mini, and the new M1-powered ...
maxresdefault

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Sideloading Apps Would 'Destroy the Security' of the iPhone

Wednesday June 16, 2021 10:49 am PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook this morning participated in a virtual interview at the VivaTech conference, which is described as Europe's biggest startup and tech event. Cook was interviewed by Guillaume Lacroix, CEO and founder of Brut, a media company that creates short-form video content. Much of the discussion centered on privacy, as it often does in interviews that Cook participates in. He...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Says iOS Picture-in-Picture Coming to All US Users

Friday June 18, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
After a long wait, YouTube for iOS is officially gaining picture-in-picture support, allowing all users, non-premium and premium subscribers, to close the YouTube app and continue watching their video in a small pop-up window. In a statement to MacRumors, YouTube says that picture-in-picture is currently rolling out to all premium subscribers on iOS and that a larger rollout to all US iOS...
applecare lower prices

Apple Lowers Prices of AppleCare+ Plans for M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Thursday June 17, 2021 7:33 am PDT by
Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged. In the United States, AppleCare+ for the MacBook Air now costs $199, down from $249. The new price applies to both M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air models, although Apple no...
m1 v intel thumb

Intel Processor Market Share May Fall to New Low Next Year Due to Apple Silicon

Friday June 18, 2021 2:06 am PDT by
Intel may see its market share fall to a new low next year, in large part thanks to Apple's decision to move away from using Intel processors in its Mac computers and instead use Apple silicon. Apple announced last year that it would embark on a two-year-long journey to transition all of its Mac computers, both desktops, and laptops, to use its own in-house processors. Apple is expected to...
apple watch edition series 5 ceramic black prototype

Apple Planned Black Ceramic Apple Watch Edition Series 5

Wednesday June 16, 2021 5:45 am PDT by
Apple considered offering a black version of the ceramic Apple Watch Edition Series 5, according to newly-shared images of the prototype casing. The images, shared on Twitter by the prototype collector and leaker known as "Mr. White," show a prototype black ceramic Apple Watch casing, alongside the white ceramic version. The ceramic Apple Watch Edition Series 5 was never available in a...
maxresdefault

Demo: Check Out AirPlay 2 on a Mac in macOS Monterey

Tuesday June 15, 2021 11:57 am PDT by
With macOS Monterey, Apple has introduced expanded AirPlay 2 support, so you can AirPlay content from an iPhone, iPad, or even another Mac to your main Mac. We thought we'd do a quick demo of this handy new feature in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. With AirPlay to Mac, you can extend or mirror an Apple device's display to a Mac, and since ...
app store blue banner

U.S. Antitrust Legislation Would Require Users to Be Able to Delete All Pre-Installed Apple Apps [Updated]

Wednesday June 16, 2021 11:26 am PDT by
Update: Bloomberg inaccurately interpreted the original comments and has since drastically changed the wording of its article. The original Bloomberg piece said that Apple would be prohibited from pre-installing its own apps on iPhones. The updated Bloomberg article has been rewritten to clarify that the antitrust legislation prohibits Apple from preventing users from removing Apple-created...
3nm apple silicon feature

Apple Supplier TSMC Readies 3nm Chip Production for Second Half of 2022

Friday June 18, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMC is preparing to produce 3nm chips in the second half of 2022, and in the coming months, the supplier will begin production of 4nm chips, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple had previously booked the initial capacity of TSMC's 4nm chip production for future Macs and more recently ordered TSMC to begin production of the A15 chip for the upcoming iPhone 13,...