Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Though Apple only launched the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro recently, rumors have already begun about the iPhone 16 lineup coming in 2024. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true!

We’re expecting some bigger changes with the iPhone 16 than we got with the iPhone 15, so we’ve rounded up all the big rumors and reports here for you.

iPhone 16: release date

Blue Titanium (left) and Natural Titanium iPhone 15 Pros on a concrete bench.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Like most iPhone releases, Apple is expected to announce and release the iPhone 16 lineup sometime this fall.

Unless there’s some kind of delay, as in 2020, where the iPhone 12 launched in October, it’s a pretty safe bet that we should see the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro models in September. Things can always change, but this is what we anticipate right now. Unless we hear otherwise, expect a September 2024 release date for Apple’s next iPhones.

iPhone 16: price

A natural titanium iPhone 15 Pro (left) and a green iPhone 15 on a Haunted Mansion wallpaper placemat.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Though it was expected that the iPhone 15 lineup would have a price increase, that didn’t happen aside from the iPhone 15 Pro Max model, which now starts at $1,200 for the 256GB version (there is no longer a 128GB variant). That was the only one in the iPhone 15 lineup that saw a “price increase,” if you want to call it that.

The iPhone 15 component prices were at the highest for Apple, though it absorbed those increased production costs. But that may not happen in 2024, so we may see a slight increase for all iPhone 16 models.

How much of a possible increase has yet to be seen, however.

iPhone 16: design

Prototype renders of the iPhone 16.

It looks like Apple may change the design of the base model iPhone 16. A report from MacRumors shows off three different prototype models with distinctive designs. But one common denominator for all three is a vertical dual camera layout. The reason for a vertical layout is likely due to spatial video recording for the Apple Vision Pro headset.

The three prototypes have some differences between them. One has an iPhone X-style camera, which is pill-shaped. The other two feature separate lenses, similar to the iPhone 12 style. These prototype designs also have either a unified volume button with haptics or standard mechanical volume buttons with a capacitive Action button and a new Capture button.

right edge profile of leaked iPhone 16 renders.

According to MacRumors, the most likely design is the one with the capacitive Action button, mechanical volume buttons, and the new Capture button. In the renders, this would be the black model. Since the Capture button would be located on the right edge of the body, the mmWave antenna would be relocated to the left edge.

These prototypes also give us an idea of the colors that Apple will be using, at least for the base model iPhone 16. This includes pale yellow, pink, and black. Other colors aren’t yet known, but Apple typically does have more than three colors for the base model iPhone, so we should expect more.

On February 6, MacRumors reported that Apple seems to have shifted focus to a slimmer camera bump design, which is different from what we saw above. The latest prototype of the iPhone 16 features a vertical camera arrangement, similar to what was outlined earlier with the three prototypes, but now in a pill-shaped camera module. The main and ultrawide lenses would be in a vertical layout with two separate camera rings, and the LED flash would be adjacent in position to the bump, just like with the earlier prototype designs.

iPhone 16 mockup with vertical slim camera module.

These mockups from MacRumors also line up with leaked schematics from @MajinBuOfficial on X (formerly Twitter). This slimmer camera bump is reminiscent of the iPhone X and iPhone XS models.

Additionally, the new prototype seems to have slight changes to the Action and Capture buttons, too. It seems that these new prototypes have a smaller Action button that is more like the one found on the current iPhone 15 Pro. The Capture button could also be pressure-sensitive and sit flush with the iPhone 16 frame. This would mean Apple possibly ditched the idea of a capacitive Action button.

While it looks like the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will remain the same size as the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, the Pro models will be getting slightly larger. According to reports, the iPhone 16 Pro display will increase from 6.1 inches to 6.3 inches, while the iPhone 16 Pro Max will go from 6.7 inches to a whopping 6.9 inches.

Render of iPhone 16 Pro Max size compared to iPhone 15 Pro.

With larger display sizes, the physical dimensions of the body will also have a slight bump. This means that the body will be a tad taller and wider than the current iPhone 15 Pro models, but the thickness will remain the same. As a result of larger dimensions, the weight will also be increased.

On the topic of displays, the iPhone 16 series will reportedly use micro-lens technology in the OLED panels. This would result in improved brightness and more efficient power consumption.

The iPhone 16 should also introduce new haptic buttons, which were originally supposed to come to the iPhone 15 Pro models. However, due to technical issues, that was delayed for 2024. Rumors indicate that we may see the previous unified button design on the iPhone 16 Pro. The new haptic, solid-state button technology would be used on the Action button, which will be on all iPhone 16 models, as well as the new capacitive button that is currently known as a “capture” button.

MacRumors has a report that suggests the new Capture button could actually emulate high-end camera functionality. According to a Weibo leaker, the button would be able to detect multiple levels of pressure in order to simulate a two-step shutter button from standalone digital cameras.

Mark Gurman claimed that the Capture button would be able to record video. The Information also reports that the Capture button could add functions like zooming in and out by swiping on the button, and even focus on a subject with a lighter press. Both of these reports are now corroborated by the Weibo user “Instant Digital.” With the Capture button being used to record video and even adjust focus, it is a clear indicator of Apple’s commitment to photography with the iPhone. However, Instant Digital seems to have a mixed track record with Apple leaks, though Gurman and The Information are more solid.

Hey Siri
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

On February 20, a report on MacRumors suggested the iPhone 16 lineup will have upgraded microphones with a higher signal-to-noise ratio than before. This would allow the device to hear you more clearly, making Siri more accurate in understanding requests. Plus, with the suggestion that iOS 18 will introduce more generative AI features, better accuracy with Siri is much needed.

Leaked render of iPhone 16 Pro in Desert Titanium and Titanium Gray color options.
MajinBuOfficial on X

Leaker @MajinBuOfficial on X (formerly known as Twitter) has shared some possible new iPhone 16 Pro color options in a post on February 19. These colors are called “Desert Titanium” and “Titanium Gray.”

It appears that the Desert Titanium color is reminiscent of the old gold color that Apple used to offer for a while through the iPhone 14 Pro. With the iPhone 15 Pro, Apple removed gold as a color choice. The Titanium Gray looks to be similar to the old Space Gray color from 2014’s iPhone 6.

Lastly, a rumor that popped up on February 27 suggests that the base model iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will still use the same 60Hz displays that are currently on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. According to The Elec, the iPhone 17 could be the first time that the base models will have LTPO OLED displays with ProMotion and always-on. In other words, we could be in for another year of 60Hz iPhone displays.

iPhone 16: specs

Presenting the A17 Pro silicon on stage at Apple Event.

For the base model iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, we should see an A17 chip. However, this may not be the same A17 Pro chip that is currently inside the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Apple is likely to use a lower-cost process for a standard “A17” chip that could make its way to the standard iPhone 16 models.

Analyst Jeff Pu thinks that Apple will go a different route and simply use A18 and A18 Pro names for the new chips. This would mean that all iPhone 16 models would have some variation of an A18 chip rather than going with an A17, which could be seen as a “last generation” chip.

While overheating was an issue with launch-day iPhone 15 models, it is said that Apple has worked on a new thermal design to help with heat dissipation. This could be in the form of a graphene thermal system for the base iPhone 16 models, while the iPhone 16 Pro might have a metal battery casing. Right now, the iPhone uses copper for the heat sinks, but graphene has higher thermal conductivity.

There have been rumors that Apple has been working on its own in-house 5G modem chips, but that won’t be happening just yet in 2024. Instead, the iPhone 16 Pro may use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X75 modem for faster and more efficient 5G connectivity. However, the base-model iPhone 16 will continue to use the Qualcomm X70 chip that is currently in the iPhone 15. The iPhone 16 could also have Wi-Fi 7 technology that could get at least 30 gigabits per second, up to 40Gb/s.

iPhone 16: cameras

Closeup render of the iPhone 16 slim camera module.

As already mentioned earlier, the base model iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus are rumored to have a vertical camera layout similar to the iPhone X or iPhone 12 styles. The iPhone 16 Pro models will continue to be a triple-lens camera system.

The leaker known as @MajinBuOfficial on X (formerly Twitter) recently shared a leak on February 16 of a leaked camera module component for the iPhone 16. This seems to confirm the vertical camera layout for the regular iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus models. According to a MacRumors report, it was able to verify the authenticity of this component with an industry source, who claims that this is the main camera chassis for the I-34 camera project, with the intent to be used in the base model iPhone 16.

Leaked image of a camera module component for the iPhone 16.
@MajinBuOfficial on X

On February 19, MajinBu shared some images of what appear to be molds for the standard iPhone 16 models, which corroborate with the vertical camera layout.

Apple may be adding a major camera upgrade for the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max. The new 48MP ultrawide lens will be a big jump from the current 12MP on the iPhone 15 Pro. With a 48MP ultrawide camera, the resulting images will be more detailed, especially those taken in lower-light environments.

The iPhone 16 Pro Max could also get an improved eight-part hybrid lens that includes two glass elements and six plastic elements for the 48MP main camera, telephoto, and ultrawide lenses.

But those who prefer the smaller iPhone Pro model could be in for a pleasant surprise this year. It’s rumored that Apple will be adding the 5x optical zoom tetraprism camera from the iPhone 15 Pro Max to both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max. The latest version of this rumor is corroborated by a press release from TrendForce, which talks about the overall smartphone camera lens market.

The goal of including the 5x optical zoom lens in the smaller iPhone 16 Pro is to make it more accessible to users, as not everyone wants a large phone for the best camera. With the likelihood of the iPhone 16 Pro also increasing in size to 6.3 inches instead of 6.1 inches, this allows for more room for the addition of the tetraprism telephoto lens.

iPhone 16: battery life

Battery settings on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

We may finally see some better battery life with the iPhone 16 Pro models, as it’s rumored to use stacked battery technology. With stacked batteries, it can result in higher capacity and longer lifespans. This may also bring faster 40W wired and 20W MagSafe charging speeds.

Charging speed has long been an area where Apple has lagged behind its competitors. If the iPhone 16 really does address this, we could be in for a proper treat.

According to @MajinBuOfficial, we also have a good idea of what to expect from the batteries in the entire iPhone 16 lineup, with changes across the board. The leaker claims that the iPhne 16 and iPhone 16 Pro Max will have larger batteries than their predecessors, however, the iPhone 16 Plus will get the short end of the stick and actually have less battery capacity than before. The Pro Max model will also no longer use the L-shaped battery design and will go back to a rectangular shape like with the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus.

So far, it looks like the standard iPhone 16 will have 3,561 mAh (up from the iPhone 15’s 3,349 mAh), the iPhone 16 Plus is 4,006 mAh (down from the iPhone 15 Plus’ 4,383 mAh), and the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be 4,676 mAh (up from the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 4,422 mAh). For some reason, there is no information about the possibility of the iPhone 16 Pro. But this is all speculation from @MajinBuOfficial, who has a mixed record with Apple leaks.

iPhone 16: software and updates

iPhone 15 Pro display with iPhone 15 Pro Max in background.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Since the iPhone 16 lineup will arrive in the fall and Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) typically takes place in the summer to showcase new software, we can expect iOS 18 to launch alongside the iPhone 16.

Though most other tech companies have been investing heavily in AI, Apple has largely remained quiet. But this may all change with iOS 18 and Siri, as Apple has been working on beefing it up with smarter AI that is powered by large language models (LLM). While Apple could bring new LLM features to all iPhones, some will likely remain exclusive to the iPhone 16 line.

Some of the possible AI features include improved interactions with Siri and Messages, better Apple Music playlists that are automatically generated, integration with productivity apps, and more. There’s also a rumor about improvements to the microphone that will go along with the improved AI-powered Siri experience, such as improved water resistance and better signal-to-noise ratio.

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