iPhone 16 Pro prototype ditches the Dynamic Island for a punch-hole — but don't expect it this year

A mock-up render of an alleged iPhone 16 Pro prototype featuring a punch hole cutout instead of a Dynamic Island
(Image credit: Majin Bu/X)

An iPhone 16 Pro model is currently being tested with a surprising new front camera unit design according to leaker Majin Bu, featuring a centered circular camera cutout.

This prototype's centered punch-hole cutout, based on the mock-up render provided by Majin Bu, looks similar to leading Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 or Google Pixel 8, rather than the elongated Dynamic Island that all iPhone 15 models use.

See more

It's been rumored in the past that Apple's been working on a way to conceal the iPhone's Face ID sensors under the display, so we'd assume that the punch hole would contain the selfie camera in order to keep photos at the best possible quality. Under-display selfie cameras have appeared on some phones already, notably the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and its predecessors, but the images these cameras produce are fuzzier than a typical camera.

Dynamic Island has helped modernize the look of the iPhone, and added some new functionality, but precious few features have arrived since the Dynamic Island first debuted on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max in 2022. So while it would be odd for Apple to change up its front-facing camera housing twice within just a few years, this could explain why we're not seeing further pushes to add more to the Dynamic Island.

We'll probably have to wait another year for this feature

We do have to keep in mind that, as Majin Bu posted, this is just a prototype, and "very unlikely to be released." It could be that Apple's experimenting with some new technology on currently in-development phones, and that we'll still see Dynamic Islands across the board on the iPhone 16 series. 

On top of that, previous leaks of the iPhone display development roadmap has suggested that it would be the iPhone 17 Pro that would be the first iPhone to use a camera punch hole instead of the Dynamic Island. This would fit with the idea that the current model is only a prototype, paving the way for next year's model. All the same, it's encouraging to catch a potential glimpse of a future iPhone development, even if it's over a year away from appearing.

Beyond this potential display cutout change, the iPhone 16 series may also see larger displays on its Pro models, the iPhone 15 Pro Max's 5x telephoto camera on both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max, and a new "Capture" button on all models. We expect to find out for sure at Apple's assumed product launch next fall, which will likely happen in September as usual.

More from Tom's Guide

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.