Apple supplier Cirrus Logic may have vaguely hinted at iPhone 15 Pro models that will get tactile buttons next year, according to research firm Barclays.

In a letter to shareholders this month, the Texas-based semiconductor company said it continues to “engage with a strategic customer” and plans to “bring a new HPMS component to market in smartphones next year.” HPMS refers to Cirrus Logic’s high-performance mixed-signal chips, which include haptic drivers for the Taptic Engine in iPhones.

During an earnings call with analysts this month, Cirrus Logic CEO John Forsyth narrowed the time frame for this new component hitting the market to the “back half of next year,” which would align with iPhone 15 models. Pros that will launch next September.

In a note to investors last week, Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O’Malley said the new component mentioned by Cirrus Logic will most likely be part of additional Taptic Engines for touch buttons on iPhone 15 Pro models:

The biggest shift in our thinking here is shaping $1 worth of new content into the IP15 Pro models. To be clear, the company hasn’t said much here other than that the chip is mixed-signal and not in the power domain. When looking at potential use cases, the biggest change in next year’s new iPhone models is the removal of buttons, which would require additional drivers for the haptics engine, making it the most likely use case for new content.

In October, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that iPhone 15 Pro models will feature solid-state volume and power buttons. Kuo said the devices will feature two additional Taptic Engines that provide tactile feedback to simulate the feel of pressing buttons, without physically moving them, similar to the Home button on recent iPhone SE models or the Force Touch trackpad on the new ones. MacBooks.

The tactile buttons on iPhones could allow for even better water resistance and would eliminate moving parts that can wear out or break over time. However, the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are still expected to have mechanical buttons.

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