Forget iPhone 15 — 7 biggest reasons to wait for iPhone 16

iPhone 16 prototypes
(Image credit: MacRumors)

The iPhone 15 is one of the best phones around based on our testing. After all, we called it the best iPhone value in our review. You get excellent performance from the main camera, a brighter display and very good battery life from a compact handset.

But as we get closer to the launch of the iPhone 16 in September, there’s some pretty big reasons to wait for the new iPhone. And I’m not just talking about hardware rumors. Here’s why you should press pause on an iPhone 15 purchase and get the iPhone 16 instead.

iPhone 15 won't get Apple Intelligence

iPhones showing Apple Intelligence features

(Image credit: Apple)

The good news is that iOS 18 is coming to the iPhone 15, bringing features like the customizable home screen and Control Center, the redesigned Photos app and lots of Messages upgrades. The bad news is that you won't be able to experience Apple's AI features, which is called Apple Intelligence

Right now only the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be able to support the iOS 18 features of Apple Intelligence, which includes capabilities like rewriting tools, summaries for webpages, a clean up tool for photos, AI-generated images and Genmoji, and an all-new Siri. And that's because Apple requires at least an A17 Pro chip for the features to work on mobile devices.

The assumption is that the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will have a powerful enough chip inside to support Apple Intelligence, and that you won't need the iPhone 16 Pro or iPhone 16 Pro Max

iPhone 16 design upgrades, including Capture button

iPhone 16 render front and back

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 16 is tipped for a number of design upgrades, starting with a new Capture button that will likely be used for capturing photos and videos on the fly. This addition will apparently be made available across all four new iPhone 16 models. 

In addition, the iPhone 16 is expected to feature a vertical camera design, which will allow the phone to capture spatial videos. That means you'll be able to watch the video back in compatible headsets like the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3

iPhone 16 display changes 

Apple iPhone 15 review.

(Image credit: Future)

The new iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro are both tipped to use micro-lens tech on their OLED displays, which is designed to boost brightness while reducing power consumption. So you could get a more vibrant panel while also getting longer battery life. 

Meanwhile, multiple sources point to thinner bezels on the iPhone 16 series. The new iPhones may implement a new Border Reduction Structure to make the display more immersive. The bottom bezel in particular could shrink. 

New A18 Chip 

A render of the Apple A18 Pro chip

(Image credit: Wccftech)

The A16 Bionic chip on the iPhone 15 is plenty fast, but it's starting to show its age. And not just because it can't support Apple Intelligence features. The Samsung Galaxy S24 and all the best Android phones have overtaken the iPhone on some performance tests with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, and Apple needs to respond. 

Rumor has it is that all four iPhone 16 models will leverage the same A18 chip, but my money is on a Pro variant for the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max. As you might expect, the A18 chip is tipped to boast a more powerful Neural engine with extra cores. So you should be able to get even better performance on locally-run AI tasks. 

Faster 5G (with less power)

Qualcomm Snapdragon X75 modem

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

I don't know about you, but I haven't been that impressed with the 5G performance of smartphones over the last couple of years. Perhaps things will change with the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus, as these new iPhones will reportedly include Qualcomm's Snapdragon X75 modem

This modem will supposedly offer faster performance but also a more efficient design that uses up to 20% less power. And this could help the iPhone 16 last significantly longer and make our best phone battery life list. 

Longer battery life 

Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 15's 3,349 mAh battery delivered very good endurance on the Tom's Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over 5G, but it wasn't great. The phone endured for 11 hours and 5 minutes, compared to 13:28 for the Galaxy S24.

But the new iPhone could catch up with rumors of a larger capacity battery of 3,561 mAh. Plus, the rumored stacked battery technology Apple could employ would result in a longer lifespan. This was rumored for the iPhone 15 but never happened. 

Wi-Fi 7

A smartphone showing the logo for Wi-Fi 7

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you haven't heard of Wi-Fi 7 yet, you will. This new networking technology is starting to pop up in more routers, and you can experience speeds up to four times faster. Plus, the new standard reduces latency while increasing capacity for multiple devices. 

The iPhone 16 series is expected to support Wi-Fi 7, and if you want to be ready we have a roundup of the best Wi-Fi 7 routers you can buy right now, including mesh systems. 

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.

  • lewval
    Skip the 16, buy the future discounted 15 Pro/Max and wait for the 17 where bigger changes are predicted. Most of the highlights you mention don't really warrant an upgrade and they are so slight, unless if you really need AI and have a phone which can't handle it. I have "AI" on my Pixel and Samsung phones. So far not impressed with any "AI" which most people probably won't use as intended anyways. All hype at the moment. 🤷‍♂️