There's still a long wait ahead for the iPhone 16's announcement, but even though its expected September release is far in the future, we've already learned quite a lot about this phone.
Thanks to various rumors and alleged leaks, the design and several key features and upgrades for the iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max (and possibly an iPhone 16 Ultra too) are already out in the open. Fortunately for users, all models look to be getting something new and interesting to play with, so no matter how much you fancy spending on the next iPhone, it'll feel like a strong upgrade.
Read on for a summary of all the iPhone 16 rumors we've seen so far, focusing on the base and Plus models.
iPhone 16: Latest News (Updated February 23)
- Engineering drawings of the iPhone 16 show several design changes.
- Non-pro iPhone 16 models may get vertical camera layout for spatial video
- The iPhone 16's Capture button may have a focusing function too.
iPhone 16: Possible price and availability
If Apple keeps to its current schedule, we should see the iPhone 16 series arrive in September 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. That said, phone component costs are on the rise, and that could push iPhone 16 prices upward.
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
One possible design rumor suggests a new look for the iPhone 16 — it's even appeared in an iPhone 16 Pro prototype. This design uses under-display Face ID, replacing the notch on older iPhones and the Dynamic Island on newer models, with a single cutout for the selfie camera. That 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.
However, the source of the iPhone 16 Pro prototype rumor doesn't expect this to be the iPhone 16's final design — it likely won't appear until the iPhone 17. Plus we've since heard from Apple supply chain expert Ming-Chi Kuo that no big exterior changes are coming to the iPhone 16 series.
After the iPhone 15 Pro got a new Action button in 2023, it now seems like all iPhone 16s could get a "Capture button." This has apparently appeared on prototype iPhone 16 units, and sounds like it may be be a camera shutter button with the option to focus shots too. Once again, the new iPhones are not expect to feature a fingerprint sensor.
Another report claims the Action button will come to the standard iPhone — and the iPhone 16 Plus if there is one — as those phones adopt another iPhone 15 Pro feature. This won't be altered from what we saw on the iPhone 15 Pro, says one source.
Prototype designs for the iPhone 16 have been posted online, which suggests that we'll get repositioned main cameras on the new iPhone (so it resembles the iPhone 12), and reworked side buttons.
A recent render from MacRumors has shown that the iPhone 16 could have a slimmer raised area for its cameras. This design shows off a pill-like raised area that has both cameras in a horizontal line with the flash off to the side. This design is surprisingly familiar to the iPhone X which had a similar design.
Additionally, it looks like the non-pro iPhone 16 models could be going for a vertical camera layout instead, which could give them the ability to shoot spatial video. Tipster Majin Bu posted photos showing mockups and molds of the iPhone 16 showing the vertical cutouts for the iPhone 16's dual cameras.
This has been backed up by further leaks for schematics and renders of the iPhone 16 base model, and leaked engineering drawings.
We could see some size changes with the iPhone 16. 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.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman also believes the Pro model will see a boost to its screen size. Gurman's Power On newsletter claims the iPhone 16 Pro models will grow by “a couple tenths of an inch diagonally,” making them the biggest iPhones to date. Analyst Jeff Pu also reiterated this, predicting a 0.2-inch screen size increase.
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. They may also keep the iPhone 15's aging 60Hz refresh rate too, a disappointment considering how most Android phones offer 90Hz or higher for smoother, more efficient scrolling.
Some render artists have already tried putting iPhone 15 rumors together into renders, with one drawing showing thin bezels and four rear cameras while another takes inspiration from 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.
Currently however, the best renders we have show very familiar-looking pro iPhones, aside from a new Capture button (more on that below).
The displays on the new phones could use a new OLED material set supplied by Samsung. According to the rumors, the upgraded panel would replace blue fluorescent technology with blue phosphorescence technology — a move that would apparently improve the power efficiency of the iPhone's display.
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
If Apple sticks to its current way of doing things, the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus would inherit the A17 chip we see in the iPhone 15 Pro models (though whichever A17 chip makes it into the iPhone 16 won't be the A17 Pro exactly). A more promising rumor suggests all iPhone 16 model will run on 3-nanometer A18 chips, with the Pro models set to get more powerful versions of the A18, possibly with enough oomph to beat even some laptops on performance benchmarks.
Still, at the moment, there are no definitive rumors about what chip these phones would use, nor how much storage space would join them. However we may see an increase to 8GB of RAM in the base model at long last, plus WiFi 6E support for faster and more reliable home internet speeds. Several sources have now claimed this, which has our hopes up for these changes actually happening
Storage will likely start at 128GB for the base, Plus and Pro iPhone 16 models, with the iPhone 16 Pro Max beginning at 256GB like the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Apple may start offering up to 2TB of storage on the Pro models, thanks to a new type of memory, although this could be slower to read and write data than current iPhones.
Battery rumors have been very sparse as 2023 wraps up, though there's talk of Apple looking into new ways to disperse heat in the iPhone 16. That comes after complaints about some iPhone 15 Pro overheating. One possible solution involves Apple using a frosted metal shell and new connector for the battery.
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 the iPhone 16 isn't likely to get it, especially with Qualcomm set to supply the iPhone with modems through 2026.
As for Wi-Fi connections, we may see Wi-Fi 7 compatibility on the iPhone 16 Pro models. This may not be a feature users will make the most of from launch, since you'll need a Wi-Fi 7 router to get the full speeds, but it would be a nice piece of future-proofing.
iPhone 16: Battery
A recent leak indicates that the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro Max could see an increased battery size. This apparent increase would, if true, lead to a 6% increase in the capacity of the battery. however, the iPhone 16 Plus could see a decrease in its battery size.
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.
The 48MP main camera could get a size upgrade says one source, claiming that the new sensor will measure 1/1.14 inches (0.87 inches) instead of the current 1/1.28 inches (0.78 inches). A larger sensor should hopefully translate to brighter and more colorful images.
A second 48MP sensor could be added to the Pro models' ultrawide cameras, allowing for the same benefits, and maybe even full 48MP ProRes shots, at the iPhone's widest 0.5x magnification level. This was repeated by Chinese leaker Digital Chat Station, which hopefully means this rumor's more than just empty words.
Meanwhile, the standard models could revert back to the vertical camera arrangement last seen on the iPhone 12. Since then, and up to the iPhone 15, the two lenses have been stacked diagonally on the square camera bump. This may be changing in order to support Spatial video recording for Vision Pro and other headsets.
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. (A recent supply chain report echoes this claim about the iPhone 16 Pro's telephoto lens.) However, we have also heard that it could remain an Pro Max exclusive on the iPhone 16 series too.
Either way, we can apparently also expect these telephoto cameras to use a higher quality lens, but one that could mean a price increase for Apple that might get passed on to iPhone buyers.
We're expecting the same 12MP selfie cameras on the iPhone 16 as we saw on the iPhone 15. There won't be any big change until the iPhone 17, says one source, which will apparently start using 24MP sensors for its front-facing cameras.
iPhone 16: Software
It's a certainty that iOS 18 will power the 2024 iPhone models. What's less certain is what kind of features the new iOS will deliver, as details about those are unlikely to emerge until just before the Worldwide Developers conference in the summer.
However, one consistent iOS 18 rumor has emerged — AI-powered features are likely to take center stage, as Apple looks to play catch-up with AI efforts from rivals like Google and Samsung. That could mean a revamped Siri that's better equipped to handle complex tasks with simple voice commands.
It's also possible that the iPhone 16 models will have horsepower to perform all of these AI-intensive tasks on device, while earlier iPhones may need to offload some AI features to the cloud. That would mean the iPhone 16 would perform faster in those scenarios.
Apple apparently expects users to interact with its AI features primarily with Siri, which is why the iPhone 16 is due to get a new microphone according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The new mic will be able to pick up a user's voice more clearly, hopefully meaning more accurate understanding of your instructions.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has stated in his Power On newsletter that iOS 18 could be the biggest software update in iPhone history. He wrote, "I’m told that the new operating system is seen within the company as one of the biggest iOS updates — if not the biggest — in the company’s history.” He also mentioned that he plans to share more specific details about iOS 18 and the planned changes in the future, so hopefully we'll learn more about what makes the update so big soon."
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. We have some thoughts on how an iPhone 16 Ultra could differentiate itself from a Pro Max model.
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 be a step up from what the iPhone 15 delivered — and those devices dominate the upper echelons of our best iPhone rankings. 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 skipping any of the iPhone 15 models in order to wait for what the fall will deliver. All we can do is wait and see what more rumors tell us, and then slowly piece together the information up until September 2024.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.