Everything We Know So Far

Mike Powers


This article was updated on 4/3/2024 to include information on WWDC and what iOS 18 could look like.

You probably upgraded to the iPhone 15 over the holiday season. But now that Samsung has just finished its flagship launch fanfare for the Galaxy S24 series, it’s time to start talking about what’s next. The next major smartphone we expect from Apple is the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro series.

The rumors on this iPhone 16 began almost as soon as the iPhone 14 launched in late 2022. Back then, the gossip was that Apple would do away with the notch entirely in favor of a more seamless design. But then the regular iPhone 15 adopted it, so we’re left wondering what could be coming in the design pipeline.

Current rumors are trending toward a new stacked design for the rear-facing camera lenses on the regular iPhone 16. At the same time, the iPhone 16 Pro could have an additional input that serves as a camera button. The iPhone 16 display sizes might come in four disparate offerings, the idea being there’s a little more something for everyone in the Pro tier. We won’t know anything until Apple reveals the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro. But it’s fun to speculate.

Timeline

When will the iPhone 16 arrive?

The iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro are expected to arrive around the same time as the last decade of iPhone launches. There is an unspoken understanding that Apple refreshes the iPhone every fall with an upgraded look and new features. People still line up at the Apple Store for the iPhone launches.

Apple’s latest cadence has been to launch the iPhone after Labor Day, which is mid-September. If you’re keen on pre-ordering the day the iPhone 16 is announced, I’d hold off on making plans around then.

Display

How big will the iPhone 16 be?

The iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro are expected to all have vastly different screen size offerings than previous generations. In the last few years, the Pro and regular models offered the same sized medium and large configurations. But this time, Apple is expected to make the Pro variants bigger than the regular phones.

The iPhone 16 is expected to be similar in size to the iPhone 15: a 6.1-inch display for the purported iPhone 16 and a 6.7-inch display for the iPhone 16 Plus. The iPhone 16 Pros will be bigger: 6.2 inches for the iPhone 16 Pro and “over” 6.8 inches for the iPhone 16 Pro Max—if the screen goes this big, it’s living up to its “max” name.

A report from overseas manufacturing suggests the iPhone’s display technology will incorporate a new OLED utilizing a micro-lens array (MLA). The new screens are expected to be brighter and more energy efficient.

iPhone 16 Design

Prepare to get more buttons in the next generation of the iPhone. The iPhone 16 is purported to get the iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button. That’s the quick-press switch on the left side of the iPhone that replaces what used to be a physical mute switch. By default, the button mutes the system just like in old times, or you can go into the iOS settings to reconfigure the shortcut.

A photo of the iPhone 15 Pro's Action Button

The Action button isn’t going anywhere.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The haptic button that’s been rumored about for years may finally find a home in the iPhone 16 Pro. There are rumblings of a capture button located on the right side of the iPhone where cellular antennas typically reside. This could be the haptic area, called the Capture Button, with the ability to tap to snap a photo or slide up and down to zoom in and out. It would give the iPhone a more camera-like feel, and it’s not unlike the extra programmable button many Android manufacturers have tried before.

Expect the iPhone 16 to have a stacked camera array rather than the stove-top design that’s been around for what seems like eons. Some renders have depicted it in a pill shape, but it will likely stay square, as that has become the iPhone’s signature backside. A case design leak on China’s social network, Weibo, seems to confirm the pill-shaped camera system on the regular iPhone 16.

iPhone 16 Performance Rumors

A cooler Apple Bionic

The iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will probably follow in the footsteps of the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. Apple bumped up those phones to an A16 Bionic with ✨performance tweaks✨, and the iPhone 16 will likely do the same with the 15 Pro’s A17 Bionic. The iPhone 16 and 16 Pro will probably introduce us to the A18 Bionic.

There is a smattering of evidence suggesting Apple will stick to a conventional naming schematic and instead debut the A18 and A18 Pro Bionic, with the pro version offering an extra GPU core.

The iPhone 16 should run cooler after complaints that the iPhone 15 was doing too much in the heat department. A graphene heat sink could help mitigate the relative warmth of the iPhone chassis that caused so much stir last fall.

Spatial Video for all

As I mentioned, the stacked cameras are coming to the back of the iPhone 16. There’s a reason for the layout: that particular camera array is best for recording spatial video content. It’s not hard to believe this as it seems like something that Apple would want to help justify the existence of its exorbitantly priced developer-centric AR headset, the Apple Vision Pro.

The iPhone 16 Pro will also improve its far-away shooting capabilities. A super telephoto periscope camera could be on the way, which would help stabilize your hand as you attempt to shoot that bird in the sky on a nature hike.

Software

Better Siri is on the way

If you were frustrated over Siri’s inability to understand you, hope may be on the horizon. The iPhone 16 is expected to have a better microphone for all your Siri queries—although I just whispered the name while typing it, the iPhone 15 Pro Max picked it up surprisingly quickly.

Trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo published a few AI-related predictions for the iPhone 16, including the fact that it will have a better signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio. With Google and Samsung positioning AI as the reason to buy their devices, it makes sense that Apple would pursue a similar route, at least for marketing purposes.

iOS 18 + VisionOS?

With every new iPhone comes a new version of iOS. This year, iOS 18 will launch alongside the iPhone 16 series. Again, we will know more once WWDC takes place on June 10. But, like the hardware, there’s plenty of conjecture to draw from.

Lately, the gossip has been that iOS 18 will borrow some of its DNA from visionOS. MacRumors received a supposed iOS 18 design resource that offers some evidence around this notion. Even though the image is alleged, it aligns with other recent rumors about what iOS 18 will look like.

What you want from the iPhone 16

We asked Gizmodo readers what they want from the next iPhone release. Most of you plead for better battery life, smaller phones, and as little AI weaved into the software as possible.

Wait until the iPhone 17?

A report from The Elec suggests it might be worth the wait for the iPhone 17. The whispers from the manufacturing line indicate that 2025’s starting iPhone will usher in a better OLED display technology than what the big and small iPhone 15 uses and what will likely be on the iPhone 16.

We’ll update this page with any new rumors about Apple’s iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro. Stay tuned.





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