It has only been a few months since the release of iPhone 15, but the rumour mill for the next one has already started churning in, touting some big changes for next year’s iPhone 16. So what could one expect from the next iPhone? Well, there are rumours of some design changes that could bring a sense of nostalgia, aside from other changes.

A recent report from MacRumors provides insights into the early pre-production designs for the iPhone 16, including the different variants and hardware configurations being considered by Apple engineers for the DeLorean, the internal code name given to the iPhone 16. The next year’s iPhone 16 is said to have changed its buttons and camera layout, building upon the improvements made in the previous models.

Multiple iPhone 16 prototypes under testing
Apple has worked on several prototypes for the iPhone 16, which although share the same design language, have some minor differences between them.

The prototypes have been rendered in different colours, including yellow, pink, midnight, and black. The yellow prototype features an Action Button, a unified volume button, and an iPhone X-style camera bump. At the same time, the pink prototype has an Action Button and separate mechanical volume buttons, while the midnight prototype has a larger Action button and a new Capture button. As per the report, the midnight prototype is the expected design at this point.

iPhone 12-esque design for next year’s iPhone 16
One of the major differences between this year’s iPhone and next year’s model is going to be the camera module, which as per the report will have a vertical arrangement.

There are two camera bump designs for the iPhone 16 in consideration — an iPhone 12-style design with two camera lenses located one above the other and an iPhone X-type design with a singular pill-shaped enclosure. Although both designs are being considered, Apple has used the iPhone 12-like camera layout with two distinct lenses more extensively on its prototype units.

iPhone isn’t going buttonless, at least next year
Early iPhone 16 prototypes had a single volume button, providing users with haptic feedback. However, the plan to adopt a unified volume button was abandoned due to technical issues, and mechanical buttons are to be used again.

Action button for vanilla iPhone 16
With the iPhone 15 Pro, Apple replaced the Action button with the mute switch. The report suggests that Apple could phase out the mute switch on the vanilla iPhone models in favour of this new button. The size of the Action Button varies across different prototypes, with some featuring a larger capacitive button that was created as part of Project Atlas.

Apple tests a ‘Capture button’ on iPhone 16 prototypes
Some of the prototypes also have a button on the right side of the iPhone 16. The button, called the Capture button, will be equipped with a force sensor and “tact-switching” functionality. It will be located on the side where the mmWave cutout used to be on US iPhone models, while the antenna will be placed on the left side. Apple has developed a backup hardware configuration that excludes the Capture Button in the event of any issues during its development.

Dynamic Island remains on the front
The iPhone 16’s front looks similar to its predecessor, using the Dynamic Island. The phone’s base model has a display that is mostly comparable to the previous iPhone, with no major changes. Similar to the iPhone 15, the prototypes of iPhone 16 also have a USB-C port located at the bottom.

The iPhone 16’s early prototypes have been seen in three colours: yellow, pink, and midnight. While documentation suggests that other colour options developed for the iPhone 15 were also used for testing at some point.

Early designs are still subject to changes as multiple hardware configurations exist, suggesting that Apple’s design plans are not yet final.


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