iPhone 16 design prototypes just leaked — here's your first look at the next iPhone

iPhone 16 prototypes
(Image credit: MacRumors)

Alleged details of iPhone 16 prototypes have been shared with MacRumors, giving us an early look at possible designs for next year's iPhone.

The basic iPhone 16 model (apparently known as "DeLorean" within Apple) has had three major designs during pre-production so far. While none of them may actually reflect the final version of the phone, they should still provide a hefty clue as to the actual handset's design.

The most obvious change to notice from the iPhone 15 is the vertically-aligned rear cameras, similar to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 rather than the past three generations of basic iPhone. It's suspected that Apple is doing this to make the iPhone 16 capable of recording Spatial Video, which is currently exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro. This format seems to require the iPhone's main and ultrawide cameras to be horizontally aligned when recording, something you can't do with Apple's current diagonal camera layout for non-Pro iPhones.

iPhone 16 prototypes

(Image credit: MacRumors)

The earliest contending design (the yellow model in these images) puts the two cameras within a single oblong glass housing, which would look quite different to the current iPhone line-up. However, the two more recent prototypes show a familiar camera layout with two separate lenses sitting on a rounded square camera block, which is apparently the look that Apple favors right now.

We can also see the oldest prototype redesigns its side buttons as well as its back cameras. Instead of two standard volume buttons, this one has two larger buttons with adjoining flat edges.

All prototypes shown here appear to switch out the mute switch for the iPhone 15 Pro's Action button, except this time it seems to be a capacitive button instead of a physical button. Capacitive buttons were a feature rumored to appear on the iPhone 15 but were dropped before production began, so it isn't surprising to see this idea revived for Apple's next phone.

iPhone 16 prototypes

(Image credit: MacRumors)

The black design represents the most recent revision, and includes the iPhone 16 Capture button we've seen rumored a lot of late. Adding this will mean moving the mmWave 5G antenna to the other side of the phone, which is the darker portion of the side rail you can see in MacRumors' renders. We're still not sure what the Capture button will do, but it apparently offers haptic feedback, which strengthens our suspicion that it'll be used mainly as a shutter button for taking impromptu photos and video.

We see no changes to the front of the phone in any of these prototype designs. All still features the same Dynamic Island notch that we saw on the iPhone 15 series, and apparently get the same flat screen with slightly curved edges like the current iPhones too.

Several rumored iPhone 16 features have been discussed already by the leak-o-sphere, including a new microphone for improved Siri interaction and 5x telephoto zoom for both Pro models, rather than only the Pro Max model. We'll find out if these are accurate leaks, and which of these newly-found designs makes it to production, when the iPhone 16 series launches, which we'd guess will happen next fall, probably in September once again.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

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.