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iPhone 16 – what to expect

The rumours are circulating- so let’s look at what we’re hearing so far

iPhone 16

The world of tech doesn’t slow up. We are only 6 months into the iPhone 15 cycle but are already looking ahead to what we can expect from this year’s iPhone 16.

In this story, I’ll focus on the iPhone 16 Pro Max model as that historically is the one with the most significant changes.

iPhone 16 on the outside…

It’s going to be bigger – no surprise there then! It will be more or less the same width but early rumours suggest it will very nearly 4mm taller.

It will be the largest iPhone that Apple will have ever made with improvements & refinements coming to the OLED display which incidentally will also be larger – up from 6.7 inches to 6.9 inches. No mention has been made about it having even slimmer bezels at this point.

There have been some crazy pictures circulating on Twitter (X) showing a crazy new layout for the cameras – but I take that with a grain of speculative salt! While there will be changes coming to the camera on the iPhone 16, from the outside I’d be amazed if the familiar layout is changed at all.

The weight will stay more or less the same gaining just 4 grams meaning the 16 Pro Max will weigh 225 grams.

On the inside…

We’ll be getting the latest processor – the A18 Pro which is going to be based on TSMC’s enhanced N3E process which crucially is far more able to deal with more on-device AI.

The modem will be the new Snapdragon X75 5G which will also support Wi-Fi 7 connectivity.

Every year there is a search to improve the battery life. Having spent a couple of days in London recently pushing my iPhone 15 Pro Max any improvements that can be made in that area I will take happily with both hands!

Battery

The improvements to the battery this year will be made in a few areas. Firstly the obvious one – the battery itself will be 5% larger – up from the 4,422 mAh battery in this year’s model to a 4676 mAh battery in the 16 Pro Max.

Early rumours suggest that the 16 Pro Max might be the first iPhone to use the stacked battery technology that is now commonplace in EVs. The benefits are that of a prolonged lifespan and also they are thermally more efficient as well. The design is as you’d expect stacks one battery on top of another. In other words like apartment buildings – they use depth rather than being wider or longer.

The third and final area that would suggest we are going to see significant battery life improvements on the 16 Pro Max is that we’re getting improved thermal management.

The 16 Pro Max will switch from using the existing copper heatsink with the black battery wrap that we are used to, to a newly designed graphene heatsink with the battery itself housed in a metal housing rather than the foil on the 15 Pro Max.

Charging will be quicker – wired charging will jump from 27W to 40W and MagSafe will be 20W as opposed to 15W on the 15 Pro Max. This should be a meaningful enough improvement to convince people to buy into Apple’s proprietary MagSafe wireless charging ecosystem instead of opting for the Qi2 alternative.

I’ve heard rumours of an improved microphone too which has further reaching implications than may at first think – I’ll come back to that later.

Cameras

The highlight of any new phone is always the cameras. The 16 Pro Max will build on an already stellar baseline that this year’s iPhone has established.

Firstly the main sensor on the 16 Pro Max (a Sony IMX-903) will be 12% larger which will help with lowlight photography. But the main camera won’t be the only 48MP camera on the 16 Pro Max.

It seems likely that the ultra-wide camera is in line for a massive improvement from the current 12MP unit to a new 48MP camera. I hardly ever use the .5x lens as it’s so inferior to the other cameras but with a 48MP lens, it should now be a much better experience.

When I’ve been out in town recently I’ve spent a lot of time using the 5x 120mm telephoto. In general day-to-day use, I’ve not generally had much use for it, but in London, it’s a whole different story. It’s given surprisingly good results but if the rumours are correct, Apple is about to swap out the 120mm optical zoom lens for a 300mm lens instead.

That sounds like overkill to me – the 120mm has been doing a great job and I’m just a bit worried about what a 300mm zoom will be like as a handheld camera. There will be improved image stabilisation to help, a larger sensor and a folded tetraprism design.

All new Capture Button

A big new headline feature for the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be the Capture Button. It is a dedicated photography/videography button that will act similarly to the physical shutter button on a camera – a half-depress will lock in the focus and fully depressing will take the photo.

The Pro Max is normally singled out as being the only device which gets the high-end camera toys but oddly this year the capture button is coming to the entire iPhone 16 range. I imagine the button will be placed under the power button on the right-hand side making it easily and readily useable in both landscape and portrait modes. A bonus of having the capture button is that it will free up the action button to map to other actions.

Bits and bobs

More AI is coming to the iPhone 16 – that is almost certain.

That new N3E 3nm process I mentioned is geared towards running more AI. As we know Apple doesn’t like where possible using cloud-based AI – they want it on device as much as possible and the A18 Pro chip will give them that ability.

iOS 18 is rumoured to be bringing a massive overhaul and at WWDC this year Apple is expected to plant their flag in the AI race. That must surely start with a ground-up overhaul of Siri and possibly even a chatbot-style Siri is in the pipeline. Remember I mentioned the improved microphone – that again suggests that Apple has some serious plans in mind for the iPhone 16 range. Expect many of the AI features to centre around the camera and image manipulation.

Although we are still 6 months away from the iPhone 16 event it’s never too early to start speculating about what is coming downstream. Are any of the features I’ve mentioned compelling enough to make you switch? What would you like ideally to see coming to iPhone 16 this fall?

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