Forget iPhone 15 Pro — iPhone 16 Pro just tipped for huge camera upgrade

iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

There are a lot of upgrades coming to the iPhone 15 Pro when it launches later this year. Unfortunately it seems like upgraded camera hardware isn’t top of Apple’s list of priorities, with rumors pointing towards the phone getting the same hardware as the iPhone 14 Pro. Fortunately the iPhone 16 Pro may be a totally different story.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 16 Pro will be adopting a new stacked camera system. Rumor has it that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be enjoying this particular upgrade, using a stacked CMOS image sensor (CIS) developed by Sony.

Kuo claims that there isn’t enough production capacity to roll this sensor out across the entire iPhone 15 range this year. While it may remain tight in 2024, he claims Apple has managed to order enough sensors to ensure the iPhone 16 Pro lineup can be included as well.

The stacked sensor coming to the standard iPhone 15 is said to offer 48MP of resolution, and will be able to capture more light. That should lead to better quality photos, especially in low-light conditions. The boosted resolution should also prove beneficial, since the standard iPhone 14’s main sensor was limited to just 12MP. They are, arguably, in much more serious need of an upgrade this year than the Pro models. 

Of course this does leave the iPhone 15 Pro’s camera in rather an off position. Not only are the two non-Pro models supposedly getting an upgraded sensor, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is also expected to come with a new “periscope-style” telephoto lens — which is positioned vertically rather than horizontally. Word is that this will offer 6x optical zoom, double that of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and may even come with a hybrid lens capable of variable optical zoom.

That leaves the iPhone 15 Pro with the prospect of an upgraded LiDAR sensor, and not much else in the camera hardware department. Here’s hoping Apple has invested in the software side of things to try and make up for it.

But what the iPhone 15 Pro loses out on, the iPhone 16 Pro gains. Not only will it reportedly get that stacked camera lens, rumors of an impending redesign suggest there may be space for the phone to get a periscope telephoto lens of its own.

In the meantime be sure to check out our iPhone 15 Pro hub for all the latest news and rumors about the upcoming phone. Word is that the September Apple Event may be taking place on September 13, which means we don’t have long to wait and see what Apple has in store for us.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.