iPhone 16 — 7 biggest rumored upgrades

Apple iPhone 15 review.
(Image credit: Future)

All eyes will be on Apple this fall when the iPhone 16 is believed to launch. We’re still months away from that happening, but the numerous leaks we’ve seen thus far give us an idea of what to expect with this year’s standard models — giving more reasons to convince people to make the upgrade.

While the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max are expected to receive their share of upgrades, those unwilling to fork over more money on an iPhone may be enticed by what the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus could offer. The juiciest rumors hint to a new display technology, Capture button, and a special video capture mode. Even more astonishing could be generative AI features, which we could get a sneak preview of when iOS 18 is expected to be shown off at Apple’s WWDC 2024 developers conference in June.

All of this makes for a strong argument, so here are all the biggest upgrades that have us excited for the iPhone 16.

Support for recording spatial video

Apple Vision Pro spatial video clip of girl blowing out birthday candles

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s Vision Pro is undeniably transforming computing, but one aspect that users have come to appreciate is being able to record and watch spatial videos with the headset. While recording them was exclusive to the Vision Pro, Apple ended up expanding support for recording spatial video to the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max — due to the arrangement of their cameras.

The iPhone 16 and 16 Plus are expected to also support spatial video recording because of how Apple’s positioning its rear cameras. Specifically, it’s going from the diagonal arrangement we get in the current iPhone 15, to a vertical one that stacks the main 48MP camera and 12MP ultrawide on top of one another.

This would effectively allow the iPhone 16 to record spatial video, which could then be viewed on an Apple Vision Pro for that immersive experience to make you feel you’re right there in the video.

Thinner bezel, brighter display

Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.

(Image credit: Future)

Rumors around the iPhone 16’s display cover the gamut, with one report hinting that the same 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch sizes will be present with the new iPhones — along with the same 60Hz refresh rate as before. Now there’s no cause for alarm just yet because the bezel around the displays are believed to be thinner, just as long as Apple’s manufacturing partners can get production in time and to Apple’s standards.

Yet, the biggest iPhone 16 upgrade related to the display centers around how they could be using new OLED material supplied by Samsung — effectively improving its power efficiency in the process. Another possibility is that Apple could switch to a MicroLED display for its iPhone 16 devices, which would inherently amplify the brightness and color of the display, while using less power. This would be an extra treat because the iPhone 15 already features one of the brightest screens in its size, reaching a respectable peak brightness of 1,401 nits.

New Capture button

Apple iPhone 15 review.

(Image credit: Future)

Apple usually reserves a few exclusive features for its Pro models, but it looks like a Capture button will also be making an appearance alongside the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus. While it’s still unknown whether the Action button will be present with the standard models, the Capture button would make it easier to launch the camera and take snapshots.

Of course, Apple’s going to make it different from past camera buttons found in other phones. First of all, it would be positioned beneath the power button and offer haptic feedback because it would employ a solid state capacitive design. Essentially, the Capture button could distinguish the amount of pressure applied to it — which means it could even be used to dial in the focus much like how the shutter button is designed with some of the best mirrorless cameras.

A18 chip instead of A17

A render of the Apple A18 Pro chip

(Image credit: Wccftech)

Apple could be doing something entirely different from past iPhone launches by adopting the same chip in all iPhone 16 models. In the past, it’s been a tradition for Apple to leverage an older chipset for its standard models — while reserving a new one for its Pro iPhones. 

Even though it’s still possible that the iPhone 16 could inherit the A17 Pro chip that launched with the iPhone 15 Pro models, another rumor suggests that all four iPhone 16 models will run on 3-nanometer A18 chips. As you’d expect, however, the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max would get a slightly more powerful version. But nevertheless, the A18 chip could mean greater performance gains for the standard models, which will probably come in hand for the software features powered by artificial intelligence.

Generative AI

Siri

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

AI has been all the rage the last several months, as many phone makers are increasingly coming out with new features. Apple’s poised to enter the arena with AI features that could be accompanying iOS 18, whether they’re focused more on Siri or if they’ll pertain to other aspects of the experience.

Generative AI could come in the form of a feature called “Siri Summarization,” which could give Apple’s voice assistant ties to the ChatGPT API. This would give Siri extra intelligence to perform summarizations and respond to more complex requests.

Beyond Siri, generative AI features could also come to other areas — such as AI tools for developers, along with generating Apple Music playlists. Over on the photo and video side, it’s reported that Apple is working to develop an AI model that would allow photo edits to be done based on instructions from a user. There’s not a whole lot of detail yet on what exact editing functions it would be able to do, but at the very least should rival what Google and Samsung offers with its flagship phones.

256GB starting storage

Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.

(Image credit: Future)

Call it a much deserved upgrade, but it looks like we could be getting 256GB base models for the iPhone 16. That would be double the amount of starting storage currently available with the iPhone 15. This generous new starting storage capacity is also believed to be accompanied by 8GB of RAM.

Given how the iPhone 16 will reportedly support spatial video recording, this upgrade makes the devices better equipped at storing all of these files. This would be a giant leap and could define a new standard for all other flagship releases for the rest of the year.

Wi-Fi 6e

Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.

(Image credit: Future)

While the iPhone 15 Pro models benefitted from faster speeds courtesy of Wi-Fi 6e, the iPhone 15 had to settle for Wi-Fi 6. However, the leaks indicate that the iPhone 16 will be adopting Wi-Fi 6e into its arsenal — giving it access to the 6GHz band. For the average person, it simply means faster speeds and reduced interference from competing Wi-Fi devices.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.