According to a new report from Fast Company, Apple will likely adopt solid state buttons for the future version of the Apple Watch.
The solid state buttons would use the Taptic Engine to provide feedback instead of a physical click. Apple will reportedly still use a two button configuration with the Digital Crown and Side button, however, neither of these will be physical buttons.
“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.)”
Solid state buttons on the Apple Watch could further improve the water resistance level of the device. Solid state buttons will also take up a lot less space, allowing for a bigger battery or other components and sensors that Apple may want to incorporate into the device.
It is still unclear when Apple will release an Apple Watch model that has solid state buttons, however, the report expects that it could arrive as early as this year. The report notes that if it doesn’t arrive this year than it will be introduced in 2019 with high certainty.
The company is also reportedly working on integrating some sensors into these buttons that would be able to collect health-related data as some measurements may require multiple points of skin contact.