The iPhone 16 Pro’s Mystery Buttons Just Got a Little Less Mysterious

Apple shook up its tried-and-true iPhone design last year with the iPhone 15 Pro’s funky new Action button – a software-customize-able bonus input for quickly triggering actions like taking a photo, starting a workout, or summoning a favorite app. And if the latest leaked design schematics prove accurate, the tinkering is far from over for 2024’s iPhone 16 Pro refresh.

Renders from the usually reliable depict legitimate CAD files outlining the physical makeup of the iPhone 16 Pro. Among the revelations? An even larger Action button is potentially in the cards after last year’s inaugural model.

While a marginally bigger button might seem like a minor detail to fixate on, the potential change speaks to Apple’s ongoing experimentation and fine-tuning of this novel interaction method. Perhaps customer feedback revealed the original Action button was too small or awkwardly positioned? Iterating and adjusting dimensions would certainly fit Apple’s usual meticulous design cadence.

But wait, there’s more – the leaked files also seemingly confirm rumblings that a second, dedicated “Capture” button is joining the iPhone’s control layout on the opposite side. Presumed to be a camera-centric shortcut for quickly snapping photos and videos, this would free up the Action button for other system duties while giving mobile photographers and videographers faster access to their digital viewfinders.

Of course, the existence of these early design renders doesn’t guarantee either the larger Action button or new Capture key will make the final cut six months from now. Case in point: shortly after these images began circulating, respected analyst Jon Prosser claimed the latest internal designs have reverted to the iPhone 15 Pro’s original Action button size.

So grain of salt, as always, when it comes to rampant iPhone rumor-mongering this far out. But it’s still fascinating to get this sneak peek at the constant iteration happening behind Cupertino’s locked doors. The iPhone’s hardware controls are far from set in stone – Apple’s willing to untether itself from traditional input paradigms to pursue something more avant-garde.

Whether that means an action-packed future of buttons galore remains to be seen. But you can be sure the evolutionary process won’t be stopping anytime soon.

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Max Hyland
Max Hyland
Long form contributor Apple iPhone, iPad, watch reviews, opinion, editorial

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