iPhone 16 Pro Max: release date speculation, price prediction and all the leaks

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Latest news

Updated April 22

- The design alterations of the iPhone 16 Pro Max are on full display in a new dummy and case leak.

- Improved lenses could help the iPhone 16 Pro Max deal with bright light in photos.

- Color options, enhanced storage and battery and more have been tipped in this huge iPhone 16 Pro Max leak

- The battery in the iPhone 16 Pro Max could be growing

- Apple could give the iPhone 16 Pro Max's display skinnier bezels.

The iPhone 16 Pro Max isn’t likely to arrive until fall 2024, which means we have a pretty lengthy wait before the new phone arrives. But that's not stopping rumors about what the next iPhone flagship might have to offer from bubbling to the surface many months in advance of the iPhone 16 Pro Max' release.

There is still a lot we don’t know about the iPhone 16 Pro Max — if it’s even called that. In fact, Apple could wind up calling this device the iPhone 16 Ultra. But we could see everything from an even bigger display and a new Capture button to an even better main camera sensor. 

You can check out our full comparison of iPhone 16 Pro max vs Galaxy S24 Ultra for how the new iPhone could compare to Samsung’s latest smartphone powerhouse, including how the iPhone's newest chip could compare to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.

Here’s everything we’ve heard about the iPhone 16 Pro Max so far.

iPhone 16 Pro Max cheat sheet: Biggest rumors

  • Release date prediction: September 2024
  • Price prediction: from $1199
  • Design: Larger 6.9-inch display, capture button
  • Cameras: Bigger main sensor, 48MP ultrawide, 5x telephoto
  • AI features: Generative AI in several Apple apps, including Photos and Notes
  • Specs: A18 Pro chip, up to 2TB storage, Wi-Fi 7
  • Colors: Rose, Gray, Silver and Space Black
  • Battery: Larger battery
  • Software: iOS 18

iPhone 16 Pro Max: price and release date speculation

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It’s too early to say how much the iPhone 16 Pro Max might cost with any certainty. But considering the iPhone 15 Pro Max endured a $100 price hike, we’re hoping that Apple leaves the price tag alone for at least another year. If that’s the case then we could see the iPhone 16 Pro Max price start at $1,199 / £1,199 / AU$2,199 for a 256GB model. 

Apple typically announces new iPhones in early-mid September, and the only time that hasn’t happened in the past several years was during the pandemic. In a lot of cases the event is on the second or third week of the month — and often on a Tuesday.

If Apple kept to a similar pattern, the Apple September event for 2024 could be Sept. 10. iPhone 16 Pro Max pre-orders would start Friday, September 13 and the iPhone 16 Pro Max release date could be September 20. But this is just speculation. 

iPhone 16 Pro Max design and display

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

According to early rumors, the iPhone 16 Pro Max could get a size increase next yeargrowing from 6.7 inches to 6.9 inches. This would make the 16 Pro Max the biggest iPhone ever, and slightly larger than the 6.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. However, the size change may not be a given yet, or could be more subtle than expected. Nevertheless, this increase in screen size is also tipped to be accompanied by a larger battery as well.

Early CAD renders list the new phone as 0.19 inches taller than the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but only 0.019 inches wider. This should mean that, despite the size increase, the 16 Pro Max is still comfortable and familiar to use, though it isn’t ideal for anyone that struggles with large phones. Meanwhile, a set of leaked images showing off dummy units of all four models show the iPhone 16 Pro Max's size difference.

iPhone 16 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S24

(Image credit: PhoneArena)

Side-by-side comparisons of iPhone 16 Pro Max and Galaxy S24 Ultra renders performed by Phone Arena suggest that Samsung's upcoming phone will be slightly wider than an iPhone 16 Pro Max with an expanded screen; Apple's flagship would be fractionally taller. The Galaxy S24 Ultra Max would outweigh the iPhone 16 Pro Max by 233 grams to 225 grams, respectively.

iPhone displays typically are supplied by Samsung, and supply chain rumors suggest the version headed to the iPhone 16 Pro Max and other models will be more power efficient. That's because the OLED materials are expected to switch from blue fluorescent technology to blue phosphorescence technology.

Another upgrade to the OLED panel could be reduced bezel sizes, making the enlarged screen look even bigger. But this looks uncertain right now as Apple's display suppliers are having issues making the new Border Reduction Structure work.

We’ve also heard some speculation that Apple could hide the remaining Face ID sensors under the display of the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max. That would reduce the necessary cutout to a single circle for the selfie camera, rather than the pill-shaped cutout of the Dynamic Island. However, we may have to wait until 2025 and the launch of the iPhone 17 Pro to see this actually happen.

An iPhone 16 Pro prototype shows what this design might look like, but even the tipster sharing the leaked image thinks it won't happen until the iPhone 17 at the earliest. Other analysts agree with this, claiming there are no big changes on the way for the iPhone 16 series' design, but with one small exception.

It’s rumored that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max may get at least one capacitive button, in addition to the newly-launched Action button. Allegedly called the Capture button this would likely help you capture photos and videos quickly (with a focusing function in addition). New dummy model images, inside cases no less, help show off this button.

Alleged dummy models of the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro Max, within identical cases

(Image credit: Sonny Dickson / X)

We can see all these rumored chances reflected in these prototype-based renders from MacRumors. Things may change as Apple finalizes this design but it's unlikely to differ too much from the model we actually get to buy.

But who cares about all these changes - what colors will there be? One source claims the iPhone 16 Pro Max may come in Rose, Space Black, Silver or Gray. Rose appears to be a brand-new option, and could likely be this year's signature color, but does seem to bear resemblance to classic gold iPhones.

These colors will appear on new color-infused back glass. New to the Pro Max anyway - you'll currently find this material gracing the back of the iPhone 15 base model and iPhone 15 Plus.

Unofficial renders of the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max from the front and back

(Image credit: MacRumors)

iPhone 16 Pro Max: possible specs

Apple A17 Pro chip schematic

(Image credit: Apple)

Seeing as how Apple has doubled down on giving the Pro iPhones a better chipset than standard and Plus models, it’s pretty likely Apple will do the same thing with the iPhone 16 series. That means we’ll likely see an A18 chip on the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max models — presumably an A18 Pro. Other iPhone 16 models may be in line for different A18 variants.

One of those variants is set to have a larger die area than the A17 Pro, which should open up more space for more transistors and specialized hardware. Analyst Jeff Pu believes this will help boost on-device AI performance.

While we don’t know what else this chip might involve, reports already claim that the chip will be a little different to the A17 Pro. Apparently Apple will be using chips built with TSMC’s N3E process, rather than the N3B used to build A17 Pro. This process is reportedly more cost-effective and has higher yields, alongside a boost in performance and an unfortunate loss of efficiency. This will then be followed by 2nm iPhone 17 chips, says one industry report.

Even with the same underlying tech, the A18 Pro could be surprisingly powerful. One set of leaked benchmark numbers claims it could beat Apple's M-series laptop/tablet chips on single-core tests.

Some people have speculated that Apple could boost the included memory in its phones to account for more AI-powered features, but leaker @Tech_Reve claims that's unlikely to happen. Instead, it looks like the Pro Max would stick with 8GB of RAM. Support for Wi-Fi 7 seems a more likely rumor.

For memory, we're expecting storage to start at 256GB on the iPhone 16 Pro Max. It may go up to 2TB this year thanks to a new memory standard, although this may also mean slower read/write speeds.

The past few years have also seen countless rumors about the implementation of Apple’s home-made 5G modem. Unfortunately, the latest word is that this modem won’t debut until 2025, with Qualcomm seemingly retaining its position as modem supplier for at least one more year.

Battery rumors are pretty thin at this point in the iPhone 15 Pro Max development cycle, but we have heard that Apple is looking at ways to reduce heat dispersion, including the use of a frosted metal shell and new connector on the iPhone 16 Pro Max's battery. Apple is also looking to diversify where its batteries are assembled, which could address supply shortages at launch, like the kind that led to shipping delays for iPhone 15 Pro Max orders this past fall.

iPhone 16 Pro Max: 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. The iPhone 16 Plus could see a decrease in its battery size though, perhaps meaning the Pro Max will again gain the title of longest-lasting iPhone.

Another leak has said Apple could promise over 30 hours of battery life for the new Pro Max, which would be a nice little upgrade from the current 29 hours of video playback Apple promises with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

iPhone 16 Pro Max: cameras

iPhone 15 Pro Max cameras

(Image credit: Future)

There's only a couple of iPhone 16 Pro Max camera rumors so far. The iPhone 16 Pro Max’s telephoto lens could have a 300mm focal length — more than double the 120mm lens in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It’s also been claimed that the 16 Pro Max will have a 1/1.4-inch sensor, which is slightly larger than the 1/1.28 sensor in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. That should allow the camera to capture more light and improve overall performance —  which is especially key given the rumor the iPhone 16 Pro will adopt the iPhone 15 Pro Max's tetraprism-designed telephoto lens for parity with the iPhone 16 Pro Max's camera capabilities. This rumor is further substantiated by a report released by research firm TrendForce.

Another change could come to the type of telephoto lens Apple uses on its iPhone 16 Pro models. A rumor tips Apple to adopt a lens that's thinner with improved magnification.

It's also been reported that both iPhone 16 Pro models could come with a 48MP ultrawide camera, which is a major boost over the current 12MP lens. The selfie camera may not get upgraded from the iPhone 15's 12MP sensor though, as that could be an iPhone 17 upgrade.

The upgrades could also apply to at least one of the camera's lenses. Apple's claimed to have a new lens coating material in development, which may be able to help the iPhone deal with bright light sources that could cause lens flares or other image artifacts.

iPhone 16 Pro Max: software

Like the rest of the iPhone 16 lineup, we think the iPhone 16 Pro Max would run iOS 18, which is under development at Apple. Details are sparse, but the early word is that artificial intelligence is a big part of the updated software, and that the OS update could be Apple's biggest yet. In fact, generative AI features could be a centerpiece of the iOS 18 update

We'll find out for certain at WWDC 2024, where Apple will preview its new iPhone software. This year's WWDC gets underway on June 10.

Because the AI capabilities targeted for the iOS 18 release may require a lot of processing power, the iPhone 16 models may have unique features for on-device AI while older iPhones will need to turn to the cloud. To help with all the AI features, the iPhone 16 models could sport an improved microphone.

A report from Mark Gurman stated that iOS 18 will have more customization options for iPhone home screens as well as potential new AI features. While we do not know the full details, it will likely include better widget placement options and new options for layout at least. 

iPhone 16 Pro Max or iPhone 16 Ultra?

iPhone 15 Pro Max display bezels

(Image credit: Future)

The biggest question we have about the iPhone 16 Pro Max is whether there will even be a Pro Max iPhone in 2024 — or if it will be replaced by the long-awaited iPhone Ultra.

There were a lot of rumors claiming that an iPhone Ultra could launch alongside the iPhone 15. It was also suggested that the Ultra may not be the “fifth iPhone”, but rather a rebranded version of the Pro Max. And, in fairness, iPhone 16 Ultra does roll off the tongue a little better than iPhone 15 Pro Max.

According to Mark Gurman, who is a well known source of Apple insider information, we could see an iPhone Ultra launch in 2024. It’s unclear whether this will be a brand new kind of iPhone 16, or if Apple will finally ditch the Pro Max moniker. Given the sheer number of rumors claiming the latter ahead of the iPhone 15 launch, we’d expect it to be that. 

Maybe an even higher-specced iPhone's the wrong way to go. As Phones Editor John Velasco argues, Apple would be better off doing a foldable iPhone than an Ultra.

iPhone 16 Pro Max: outlook

We are still very early in the iPhone 16 Pro Max development cycle to know much about what to really expect. But the few rumors we’ve heard suggest the iPhone 16 Pro Max could be an absolute beast.

The iPhone 16 Pro Max is tipped for a bigger display, an even more powerful camera system, a long-awaited RAM boost and yet another dedicated button. Stay tuned for more iPhone 16 Pro Max rumors and leaks. 

More from Tom's Guide

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.

  • cjbreisch
    admin said:
    iPhone 16 Pro Max should arrive next year, and here's everything we know so far.

    iPhone 16 Pro Max release date speculation, price prediction and all the leaks : Read more
    You don't mention anything about WiFi 6, WiFi 6E, or WiFi 7 support. Any updates on those?