The iPhone 16 series will see significant modifications, with Apple expected to boost the size of the iPhone 16 Pro to 6.3 inches and the iPhone 16 Pro to 6.9 inches, the first big size improvement in several years. The size modifications will be limited to the iPhone 16 Pro models, with the iPhone 16 models will maintain the same size as the iPhone 15 models.
Apple is developing new A-series CPUs for the iPhone 16 family, based on the latest N3E 3-nanometer node. We could see some improvements in efficiency and performance, but we haven’t heard anything specific about what to expect. Capacitive volume buttons, power buttons, and Action Button could be featured in all four iPhone 16 versions, and the next iPhones are also reported to include an extra mystery button whose use is unknown at this time.
This collection covers early reports about the iPhone 16 lineup, and with plenty of time for Apple to adjust its plans, the information below may change as Apple improves the design of the forthcoming iPhone models.
iPhone 16 Design Prototypes
Apple developed three prototypes of the iPhone 16 design, each with slightly different features. All three feature a vertically aligned camera, which will most likely enable for spatial video recording for the Vision Pro headset.
One design had a pill-shaped iPhone X-style camera, while the other two had two different lenses. Another design incorporated haptic buttons and a unified volume button, while the third featured a two-lens camera, regular mechanical volume buttons, a capacitive Action Button, and a novel Capture Button.
We predict Apple to chose the third design, shown in black in the pictures. In the United States, the rear camera will be vertically positioned, with a second “Capture” button on the right side for video recording and a left-side mmWave antenna beneath the Action Button.
Note that the colors in the photographs are those that Apple has tested, thus we could see pink, yellow, and black as normal iPhone 16 hues.
Changes in Size for the iPhone 16 Pro
Several sources predict that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will have bigger displays. The iPhone 16 Pro will have a 6.27-inch display (rounded to 6.3), while the iPhone 16 Pro Max is believed to have a 6.85-inch display (rounded to 6.9).
As the display size increases, so will the iPhone’s body dimensions. Both variants are projected to be taller and broader than the iPhone 15 Pro models, and while the thickness will remain constant, the weight will increase somewhat due to the increased dimensions.
We do not expect size adjustments for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, which will be the same size as the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus.
The iPhone 16 OLED screens could incorporate micro-lens technology to boost brightness while also reducing power consumption. To reduce internal reflection, micro-lens arrays (MLAs) use a consistent pattern of billions of lenses inside the panel. Reflected light enhances perceived brightness without increasing power usage.
The OLED panels utilized in the iPhone 16 series will be more power efficient due to better materials.
What about the iPhone 16 Ultra?
With the iPhone 16, Apple could release a high-end iPhone 16 “Ultra” alongside the iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max. The smartphone would be positioned as the top-tier iPhone offering, and it could have additional camera enhancements, a larger display, and possibly a portless design.
Despite reports about an iPhone 16 Ultra, there is no evidence of such a device in early iOS 18 code. According to the code, Apple is working on only four iPhone variants: two ordinary iPhone 16 models and two “Pro” iPhone 16 versions.
Apple had planned to replace the physical volume, power, and mute buttons with solid-state keys for the iPhone 15 Pro models, but the functionality was removed due to “unresolved technical issues” with the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
Instead, reports say that Apple will postpone the introduction of solid-state buttons until 2024, with the iPhone 16 models receiving them first. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is “likely” to adopt the technology for the iPhone 16 Pro, and if that happens, we may see the unified button design that was rumored for the iPhone 15 Pro models.
Solid-state buttons can be used in the same way as physical buttons, but no button is pressed when you touch them. Instead, a haptic vibration is employed to simulate a button press and provide the sense of pressing down even when there is no physical movement of the button.
Apple already utilizes solid-state technology in the Touch ID Home button on the iPhone SE and the trackpad on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. On these gadgets, a press motion seems like you’re pressing a button, but it’s actually a solid surface with haptic feedback. Solid-state button technology can increase dust and water resistance since it eliminates the need for a physical depressing mechanism, but it requires additional circuitry inside the iPhone. Apple was supposed to be adding two more Taptic Engines to the iPhone 15 Pro models to power the solid-state buttons, thus the iPhone 16 Pro models would most likely function similarly.
Apple may use solid-state technology for both the Action Button and a new capacitive button, while maintaining normal volume and power controls.
While several rumors have suggested that the iPhone 16 Pro models will use the technology that Apple originally planned for the iPhone 15 Pro models, an analyst at Barclays believes that Apple does not intend to introduce solid-state buttons in the iPhone 16, citing information provided by Apple supplier Cirrus Logic.
The Action Button is available on the iPhone 15 Pro models, and it is scheduled to be expanded to the ordinary iPhone 16 models by 2024. In 2024, Apple is predicted to employ an updated capacitive Action Button that offers haptic feedback when pressed instead of a regular button, and the button may be larger and flush with the iPhone’s body.
The Action button, which substitutes the standard mute switch, may activate the Flashlight, turn on the Camera, launch a Shortcut, enable or disable a Focus mode, use Translate, toggle Silent Mode, and more.
Extra Capacitive Button
Apple is developing internal prototypes of the iPhone 16 that have an additional capacitive button dubbed as the “Capture Button.” The button is situated on the same side as the Power button, in the space previously occupied by the 5G mmWave antenna in the United States.
With the inclusion of this button, the mmWave cutout has been moved to the left side of the device, beneath the volume buttons. The Capture Button, like the Power and Action buttons on iPhone 16 versions, is a capacitive button that detects pressure and touch and gives haptic feedback when touched. It will be used to record photographs and movies.
The iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus are rumored to employ an A17 chip, although speculations say it will not be the same A17 Pro chip used in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Apple is employing TSMC’s N3B process for the iPhone 17 Pro processor, but will switch to the lower-cost N3E technology for the upcoming regular “A17” chip next year.
N3B is TSMC’s initial 3-nanometer node developed in collaboration with Apple, but N3E is a more cost-effective node with lower transistor density, lower efficiency, and higher yield.
Apple does not normally design semiconductors particularly for basic iPhone models, which instead use the same chips as the Pro models or adopt the chip from the previous year’s iPhone models. The iPhone 15, for example, used the A16 chip, which was first launched in the iPhone 14 Pro.
While one rumor suggests that Apple would call the chip used in the regular iPhone 16 models the “A17,” analyst Jeff Pu believes Apple will instead utilize the A18 and A18 Pro names, with all iPhone 16 models containing some type of A18-series processor. Pu believes that all of the chips will use the N3E manufacturing method, and that the Pro chips may include an extra GPU core that is not available in the normal chips.
The iPhone 16 models are rumored to incorporate a new thermal design to prevent overheating. Apple is rumored to be developing a graphene thermal system for the iPhone 16 models, while the iPhone 16 Pro variants may also feature a metal battery case to assist heat dissipation.
Graphene has a greater thermal conductivity than the copper used in iPhone heat sinks.
5G Modem Chips
The iPhone 16 Pro versions could include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X75 modem, enabling quicker and more efficient 5G connectivity. According to Qualcomm, the X75 provides enhanced carrier aggregation, and the combined sub-6Ghz and mmWave 5G transceiver occupies 25% less circuit board space and consumes up to 20% less power.
Qualcomm’s X75 supports the “5G Advanced” standard and includes AI and machine learning advancements for 5G performance, allowing Apple to sell the iPhone 16 Pro models as having “5G Advanced” connection.
The regular iPhone 16 models are expected to continue to use Qualcomm’s X70 chip, which was previously used in the iPhone 15 models.
Apple is developing its own modem chip and antenna system to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm, although Apple’s modem chips are not expected to be ready for release until 2024. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects that Apple-designed modem chips would be available in 2025.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects the iPhone 16 Pro models would use the net-generation WiFi 7 technology, which is predicted to give rates of “at least 30” gigabits per second and potentially up to 40Gb/s.
Wi-Fi 7 can also employ 320MHz channels and supports 4K quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) technology, resulting in speeds up to 2.4 times faster than Wi-Fi 6 with the same number of antennae. Wi-Fi 7 will eventually offer higher maximum transfer speeds, better latency, and more reliable communication.
Apple will migrate to USB-C technology with the iPhone 15 series, and it is expected to be used in the iPhone 16 models.
With iOS 18, Apple is expected to introduce new Siri functions powered by big language models, and some of the cutting-edge generative AI features may be confined to iPhone 16 models.
According to a leaker, iOS 18 will extend many of the new LLM features to all iPhones, while on-device AI features may remain limited to the iPhone 16. The upgraded AI features in iOS 18 may include improved interactions between Siri and the Messages app, auto-generated Apple Music playlists, integration with productivity apps for AI-assisted content production, and more.
Under Display Face ID?
There were reports that the iPhone 16 Pro models might use under-display Face ID technology, however it currently appears that under-display Face ID may not arrive until 2025. Face ID under display will free up more display area by eliminating the requirement for the entire Dynamic Island.
Korean website. The Elec has stated that under-display Face ID technology could be released as early as 2024 with the iPhone 16 Pro models, but display analyst Ross Young believes it is still at least two years away. According to Young’s timeline, under display Face ID will not be accessible until the iPhone 17 Pro, leaving the iPhone 16 Pro devices with the Dynamic Island.
When under-display Face ID is released, there will be a circular cutout for the camera, similar to how manufacturers such as Samsung handle front-facing camera technology.
iPhone 16 Camera Technology
The iPhone 16 Pro models could contain an enhanced 48-megapixel Ultra Wide lens, allowing for better photographs in low-light circumstances. It would most likely function similarly to the 48-megapixel Wide camera, which uses pixel binning to aggregate data from four pixels into a single “super pixel” for improved image quality.
The iPhone 16 Pro Max’s 48-megapixel wide-angle camera will reportedly have an eight-part hybrid lens with two glass components and six plastic elements, as well as enhancements to the telephoto and ultra wide camera lenses.
In 2024, both the iPhone 16 Pro and the iPhone 16 Pro Max could feature 5x Telephoto lenses, rather than just the bigger Pro Max.
The regular iPhone 16 models are believed to include a vertical camera configuration similar to the iPhone 12. Apple adopted a diagonal configuration for the iPhone 13 and 14, although the swap could enable spatial video recording with the Ultrawide and Wide cameras.
The iPhone 16 Pro Max could include a super telephoto periscope camera with much improved optical magnification. The information originates from a Weibo account that has previously delivered accurate information, but it has yet to be verified by another trustworthy source.
The terms “super” or “ultra” telephoto usually refer to cameras with focal lengths greater than 300mm. The existing telephoto lens is equivalent to a 77mm lens, therefore if accurate, zoom capabilities might be significantly increased.
Rumors say that the iPhone 16 Pro versions will feature stacked battery technology, which could result in more capacity and a longer lifespan. Stacked batteries are widely used in electric vehicles and medical devices, but they are a new technology for cellphones.
The stacked battery might be paired with faster 40W wired charging and 20W MagSafe charging.
In November, an image of the supposed iPhone 16 Pro battery surfaced, showing a new design, an upgraded connector, and a capacity of 3355mAh.
Component prices for the regular iPhone 15 models were at a record high, up 16 percent from the iPhone 14 models. Apple absorbed the additional production costs for the iPhone 15 series, but it may need to raise the price when the iPhone 16 is released to prevent affecting overall income.
The iPhone 16 Release Date
The iPhone 16 models are projected to be released in September 2024, after the 2023 iPhone 15 models.
Future iPhone Functionality
ProMotion technology, which adds up to 120Hz refresh rates to the iPhone’s display, is projected to be available on ordinary iPhone models beginning in 2025. Until 2025, ProMotion will be limited to higher-end “Pro” iPhones.
The iPhone 17 Pro Max, which will be released in 2025, could include a 48-megapixel Telephoto lens tailored for the Vision Pro headset. The rumor comes from analyst Jeff Pu, who did not elaborate on how it would work with the Vision Pro. Pu also predicts that the iPhone 17 Pro will include an Apple-designed Wi-Fi 7 chip.
Apple’s 2026 iPhone 18 will feature both under-display Face ID and under-display front-facing camera technology, perhaps allowing for a design with no camera cutouts. This would be the first all-display design.