It offers a few things that even the iPhone 15 Pro Max can’t offer, including the bundled S Pen and its AI tricks. But there are a few areas where Apple’s next big handset could turn heads when it arrives in September.
Here are five ways the iPhone 16 Pro Max could beat the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra if Apple plays its cards right.
The speed of A18 Pro
For years, Apple’s A-series chips — combined with the company making both the hardware and software — made iPhones comfortably the fastest handsets around.
With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 that powers the S24 Ultra, Qualcomm has made things interesting. In our Geekbench 6 benchmarks, we found the S24 Ultra scored 2,300 in single-core and 7,249 in multicore. For comparison, the iPhone 15 Pro Max scored 2,783 and 6,945 respectively.
That’s only a narrow win on multi-core, and we fully expect the iPhone 16 Pro Max to pull it back with the A18 Pro chipset, which one leaker says is so powerful that it eclipses the performance of M1 MacBook, with scores of 3,500 and 8,200.
Larger but lighter
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is many things, but light isn’t one of them. Its 6.8-inch body tips the scales at a hefty 8.22 ounces.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max, meanwhile, comes in at 7.8 ounces. And even though the iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to be closer to 6.9 inches, it would be very surprising if it weighed more than Samsung’s latest.
The might of the Capture Button
While actual camera performance is up in the air, Apple is reportedly set to give the iPhone 16 family a big upgrade when it comes to usability.
Various reports have mentioned the introduction of a dedicated Capture Button, which Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims is predominantly for the quick capture of video. A report from The Information goes further, claiming that the button will be flexible enough to allow you to zoom with a swipe and focus with a light touch.
This doesn’t sound like that big a change, but it’s the kind of usability innovation that could make a huge difference to budding filmmakers.
Smarter AI — without the threat of a paywall
Galaxy AI has been pretty well received. As you can see in our Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review, while the features vary in usefulness, they’re generally well-implemented and an exciting glimpse into the future.
Whether these will be better than Samsung’s efforts is yet to be seen (though the fact Apple is reportedly courting publishers with multi-million dollar offers for training data is encouraging), but the iPhone 16 could steal a march on Samsung by ruling out AI ever being a paid feature. That is something that Samsung has pointedly failed to do, only promising it will be free until 2025 (though there are reasons to doubt this will ever happen).
And on the subject of money…
A more competitive price
Thanks to the $100 price rise, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra now starts at $1,299.99, rising to $1,659 if you want 1TB of storage.
It feels odd to consider Apple products to be the value option, yet here we are. The iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199.99 and is still cheaper if you want 1TB of storage, maxing out at $1,599.
Now, in all likelihood, Apple will just price match Samsung and add $100 to the price of the iPhone 16 Pro Max — but if it doesn’t and keeps prices static for another year, that’s a huge advantage for the brand.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.