The iPhone 16 feels like a long way off, but Apple's seemingly working on it already. That's because leaks for the 2024 handset are already trickling out and cover off some big upgrades.
It's hard to say right now what'll be new for the iPhone 16 since the iPhone 15 series isn't even here yet. But it's looking like we can expect some more design changes, camera upgrades and maybe a whole new type of iPhone to appear next year.
If that intrigues you, then peer into the not-so-distant future with us and see what's tipped for the iPhone 16 series so far.
iPhone 16: Possible price and availability
If Apple keeps to its current schedule, we should see the iPhone 16 series arrive in September of 2024. Delays are possible, and have happened a couple of times in the past few years, but Apple never deviated too much.
We have no pricing rumors for the iPhone 16 right now, so all we can assume is that Apple will keep to an $800 price for the entry-level model, with Pro models costing $1,000 - $1,100, and higher storage versions adding a few hundred more onto the price.
If there is an Ultra model, we'd have to imagine it would cost even more, perhaps $1,200 or higher, similar to other Ultra phones on sale.
iPhone 16: Design and display
There are currently two major ways the iPhone 16 is rumored to be shaking up the look of the Apple smartphone. The first is by using under-display Face ID, which would replace the notch, and the newer Dynamic Island, with a single cutout for the selfie camera. It would change the face of the iPhone significantly, although we'd have to wonder how well the infrared projector and sensor will work with an extra layer of screen in the way.
We could see some size changes too. It's rumored that we'll see larger Pro models next year, with the iPhone 16 Pro apparently measuring 6.3 inches and the iPhone 16 Pro Max 6.9 inches. CAD designs also show off the Pro Max model's size difference compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Noted Apple tipster Mark Gurman also believes the Pro model will see a boost to its screen size. In the latest issue of Gurman's Power On newsletter, the insider says the iPhone 16 Pro models will grow by “a couple tenths of an inch diagonally,” making them the biggest iPhones to date.
The iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus however are said to be sticking with the current 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch sizes, in what would be a small consideration for users who prefer smaller phones.
Some render artists have already tried putting iPhone 15 rumors together into renders, such as this one thin bezels and four rear cameras, or this one, inspired by the Apple Watch Ultra with a smoother back and chunky rounded sides. We can't imagine Apple would be so adventurous with the iPhone 16's design, but maybe as more leaks pile up, these will be more accurate to the real thing than we realized.
Beyond getting larger with the rest of the phone, another potential change to the iPhone 16's display is the addition of MicroLED display, for improved brightness and color while using less power. This is a brand-new technology for Apple though, so it's possible we'd have to wait for another year or two after the iPhone 16 if it's not ready in time. If that's the case, then we can presume we'd end up with OLED panels once again, or potentially miniLED, Apple's other display tech found on certain iPads and MacBooks.
iPhone 16: Possible specs
We'd assume Apple will introduce an A18 Bionic chipset to the iPhone 16, at least in the Pro models. But right now there are no rumors about what chip these phones would use, nor how much RAM and storage space would join them.
One part of the iPhone 16's internals we keep hearing about though is an Apple-built modem, an upgrade that Apple's been trying to implement for a while. This would replace the current Qualcomm 5G chip iPhones have been using since the iPhone 12, and could provide efficiency and performance benefits if Apple does a good job with optimizing it. However this feature's been tipped for several years now without Apple actually producing a production-ready chip, so maybe even the iPhone 16 won't get it.
iPhone 16: Cameras
Without rumors telling us otherwise, we'd assume the cameras used on the iPhone 16 will be the same as those found on the iPhone 15, which will likely be a 48MP main camera joined by 12MP ultrawide, selfie and telephoto (on the Pro models) cameras. While both regular and Pro iPhones could use the same 48MP main resolution, the sensor on the Pro models could be larger to give the more expensive iPhones a greater advantage with photography.
However the standard models could revert back to the vertical camera arrangement last seen on the iPhone 12. Since then the two lenses have been stacked diagonally on the square camera bump.
We've also been hearing about there being a periscope telephoto camera on both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max, rather than just the Pro Max model as is currently tipped for the iPhone 15 series. However, we have also heard that it could still be a Pro Max exclusive on the iPhone 16 series too; hopefully Apple will keep both of its Pro iPhones aligned in camera specs, so as not to deprive users who prefer the smaller and slightly cheaper Pro model.
iPhone 16: Ultra model
Apple's been making Pro and Pro Max iPhones for the past four years, and we expect the iPhone 15 series to take us into a fifth. But iPhone 16 could bring us an iPhone Ultra model, above both the Pro and the Pro Max, for the first time. In return, Apple would discontinue one of the basic iPhone models, keeping the line-up as a quartet.
That said, one source says only to expect it "in the next couple of years," so maybe it won't be the iPhone 16 series that introduces the Ultra after all.
How exactly Apple would elevate the iPhone to an Ultra level is unclear. It could take inspiration from existing Ultra phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in multiple ways, such as by enlarging the display, or adding more cameras. Considering the Apple Watch Ultra took the Apple Watch 8's basic design, made it larger and added extra features inside and out, it'll be interesting to see what Apple comes up with for its signature product.
iPhone 16: Outlook
Obviously, it's still very early in the iPhone 16's production timeline for any of these rumors to be particularly reliable. But the fact they're leaking out already is nonetheless interesting.
New cameras with bigger zoom (and on more phones), a larger frame, an upgraded display, plus the usual annual power and performance enhancements, would all make for worthwhile upgrades over even what we expect for the iPhone 15. Plus there's the tantalizing prospect of what an Ultra iPhone could bring that the current Pro models don't provide.
But right now it's premature to say if it's really worth waiting for over the iPhone 15, or even the current iPhone 14. All we can do is wait and see what more rumors tell us, and then slowly piece together the information up until September 2024.