Apple Watch 4 could get touch-sensitive buttons with haptic feedback

Apple may be looking to replace the buttons on the Apple Watch with solid-state buttons for the Apple Watch 4, according to a report from Fast Company. The report, which cites a source with direct knowledge of Apple's plans, says that Apple will stick with the current button configuration of the digital crown and side button.

However, instead of being able to be physically pressed down, the buttons will instead react to pressure put on them with the users' finger and vibrate slightly using haptic feedback - using Apple's Taptic Engine - in a similar way to the Touch ID button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. The digital crown will still be able to rotate through menus and other screens. 

The move to solid-state buttons will allow the Apple Watch to be more water-resistant because there will be no gap needed for movement, and it will also free up space inside the Watch, which could be used for a larger battery. There are also rumours to suggest Apple is working on integrating sensors on the top of the buttons, such as a blood pressure monitor. 

Fast Company's source said these changes could make their way into the new Watch that Apple is expected to announce later this year, if not, they will come in 2019. The changes will need to be made soon, as there are strong rumours saying Apple will eventually omit all buttons from the Watch, replacing them with touch-sensitive areas instead.