The iPhone 7 introduced a new Home Button concept. It still had Touch ID embedded into it, but the button would not actuate as previous iPhones’ home buttons did. Instead, it would trigger a special haptic pattern to simulate the sensation of a button press.
Now, a source to Fast Company claims that a future-generation Apple Watch feature the same crown-and-button layout as with previous models, but that there will be no physical trigger system. Both units will be in a fixed state and use the Taptic Engine to signal feedback. Condensing the button footprint will allow for the surfaces of those buttons to include sensors to gather health metrics that required multiple points of contact with skin — a limitation of the wrist-facing heart rate monitor — such as heart rhythms, the report goes on. The new buttons will be available either on the upcoming Apple Watch this fall or next fall.
Finally, we learn that the Apple Watch may go without buttons altogether further in the future and make a whole side of the watch case touch-sensitive.