Fresh Apple Leak Unveils Crucial iPhone 16 Design Choice

While Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 and Google’s Pixel 8 dive deeper into the AI-powered feature wars, Apple is reportedly working on a new mechanical button to enhance the iPhone 16’s shooting experience.

According to two sources speaking with The Information, Apple is testing out a new physical camera button for the iPhone 16. This new button has been leaked several times over the last couple of months, but The Information has revealed some new detail about how it will work on Apple’s next flagship phone.

Firstly, it won’t just have a capacitive surface area, as previously speculated. Rather the new input will be a mechanical button that can register touch and pressure. That will allow users to lightly press the button to focus, hard press to record a video, or swipe left and right to zoom in and out.

The new button will make its way to the entire iPhone 16 line-up. It will be placed on the right-side of the phone, just under the power button, making it easily accessible when snapping in landscape mode. Apple believes this to be a key differentiator, and selling point, for the iPhone 16 according to the story. Apple has long had an advantage in video recording over its Android competition, so anything to aide that will only extend the gap.

This is an interesting piece of news to come out about Apple’s camera because it’s squarely focussed on something old-school—a physical button. Samsung and Google have focussed their efforts on how to implement generative AI into everyday picture taking, with a lot of success. I’m sure we’ll see some similar AI-powered tech from Apple in this year’s iPhone. But it’s promising that the company is putting some R&D money into improving the most basic shooting experience too.

A dedicated shutter button will absolutely improve that experience, as we’ve seen on some Sony Xperia models. The iPhone 15 already has a multi-functional Action button, so it’s interesting that Apple is considering adding another physical, visible, input method that will interrupt the iPhone’s design. Other manufacturers take a different approach to adding new inputs. Samsung’s latest Galaxy S24 comes with a stylus for precision touches that can be useful when adjusting intricate settings in the pro camera mode. Other handsets, like HTC’s U12, replaced all of its mechanical external inputs with touch sensitive buttons. Google’s Pixel 2 (which was manufactured by HTC) had an “active edge” all around the body of the phone that could be squeezed to summon Google Assistant.