iPhone 16: Release date rumors, news, and more

iPhone 16
(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s iPhone 16 is set to debut in September of 2024 alongside the rest of the iPhone 16 lineup, marking the next iteration of Apple’s flagship smartphone in what has become an annual ritual over many years. Last year, Apple took the covers off the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Plus, and iPhone 15 Pro Max to much fanfare, and we expect this year to be no different. 

With the iPhone 14, Apple settled on a new standard lineup that has persisted with iPhone 15 and looks set to make a return once again in 2024. That means we can expect a total of four new iPhone models in September. With the advent of the iPhone “Plus” in place of the mini, the iPhone 16 is very much the youngest child in the lineup. This year, it’s set to have the smallest chassis of any of the iPhones released, alongside the cheapest price tag. It’s big brother, the iPhone 16 Plus will be considerably larger and have a more impressive battery. Meanwhile, the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro are set to increase in size to a daunting 6.3 and 6.9 inches respectively. 

Last year, the iPhone 15 got an impressive design tweak that brought with it smoothed edges and a groundbreaking new frosted matte glass back thanks to a pioneering new color infusion technology. It also inherited the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island and its powerful 48MP camera lens. This year, the iPhone 15’s design change isn’t set to change massively, although we are expecting a new rear camera configuration that will change the look of the camera bump and pave the way for spatial video. 

Two big rumored new features come in the form of two new buttons, one of which will be familiar to iPhone 15 Pro users. The iPhone 16 is expected to inherit the Action button added to the Pro lineup last year. Eschewing the mechanical Mute Switch, the Action button gives users one-touch access to an array of apps including Translate, Shazam, and Voice Notes. The entire lineup, Pro and otherwise, is also expected to benefit from a new Capture button dedicated to taking still pictures and video. 

iPhone 16: The headlines

  • What is it? The iPhone 16 is Apple's next flagship smartphone, specifically the smallest base model. 
  • When can we expect it? September 2024
  • Key upgrades: Action button, Camera button, A18 chip, AI features, Spatial Video

iPhone 16: Meet the lineup

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPhone 16 expected lineup - at a glance
ModelSizeDisplay rumorsExpected price
iPhone 166.1-inchOLED 60Hz$799 (128GB)
iPhone 16 Plus6.7-inchOLED 60Hz$899 (128GB)
iPhone 16 Pro6.3-inchProMotion 120Hz$999 (128GB)
iPhone 16 Pro Max6.9-inchProMotion 120Hz$1,199 (256GB)

iPhone 16: Expected release date

There is no official information regarding the release date and launch of the iPhone 16, but we can make a fairly educated guess. Apple almost always unveils its new iPhone in September, and we expect 2024 to be no different. More specifically, the iPhone event usually takes place on a Tuesday early in the month, like September 3 or September 10. The same can of course be said for the iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max.

If Apple does stick to its iPhone release pattern the iPhone 16 will go up for preorder on the following Friday after the unveiling and go on sale in stores a week later. 

iPhone 16: Display

iPhone 15 Plus review

(Image credit: Future)

We aren't expecting any change in the screen sizes offered by the iPhone 16, meaning we should look for the same 6.1-inch display that we're all so familiar with. The iPhone 16 Plus likewise is expected to retain its 6.7-inch display. 

In terms of the technology used in those displays, the Dynamic Island will be present while there have been rumors of a potential switch-up in OLED technology. According to The Elec, writing in September, Apple is considering using micro-lens technology to "increase light extraction efficiency." This would narrow the viewing angle of the iPhone's display, but would also reduce the display's power consumption. A micro-lens array could allow Apple to increase the amount of light sent to either the front or the side of the display, increasing or decreasing luminance respectively. The technology could mean your iPhone 16's display appears brighter even though it's using the same amount of power as previous models. 

A report in March also indicates that the new iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro models could use Border Reduction Structure, or BRS, to reduce the bezels of the next iPhone. Apple was actually considering using the tech in iPhone 15 but ditched it over heat dissipation concerns. Another confirmation of this, it was reported in early April, 2024, that the new BRS system is causing production problems, with suppliers struggling to meet Apple's standards. The Elec reported that the iPhone 16 series OLED "applies Border Reduction Structure (BRS) technology, which makes the bottom bezel thin." 

Apple's iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max models are tipped to see their displays expand to 6.3 and 6.9 inches respectively. We'd also expect key "Pro" display technologies, namely the 120Hz ProMotion display, and the Always-On powered by LTPO technology, to remain exclusive to the more expensive models. 

iPhone 16: A18 Chip

iPhone 15 Plus review

(Image credit: Future)

A18 chip

With the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max both featuring the new A17 Pro chip, and the iPhone 16 inheriting the A16 chip from the iPhone 14 Pro, you could be forgiven for assuming that A17 Pro chip might make its way into the iPhone 16 this year. 

Instead, it's now thought that Apple will skip the A17 entirely for iPhone 16 and start to use new A18 chips instead. The lineup would see the A18 used in the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, according to analyst Jeff Pu. He expects Apple to ditch its staggered approach to iPhone chips and instead begin putting the base chip in the non-Pro iPhones and a new Pro chip in those with the Pro moniker. More recently, the same source reported that the iPhone 16 Pro's A18 Pro chip will feature a 6-core GPU with a larger die area than the A17 Pro chip. As such, while both iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro will feature an A18 of sorts, Apple is expected to differentiate between the two with the same Pro designation. Pu also mentioned that Apple's chip could have a focus on Edge AI, or on-device artificial intelligence. Apple already excels at this through the A-series Neural Engine, which powers computational photography on iPhone and a host of other features. 

All of the 2024 chips are expected to use TSMC's N3E manufacturing process, making production cheaper than the A17 Pro's N3B process. Apple is also expected to adopt a graphene thermal system with the iPhone 16 series to stop some of the overheating problems experienced by iPhone 15 users

RAM

A report from Jeff Pu in January indicated that Apple could upgrade the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus to feature 8GB of RAM. That would mean 8GB across all four models including the two Pro iPhone 16s. 

AI

Apple's A-series iPhone silicon has always had a potent on-board Neural Engine that handles tasks like computational photography. However, this year Apple is expected to double down on its AI efforts across its entire product line. This will no doubt start to take shape at WWDC 2024 as Apple unveils iOS 18 and beyond, but we also expect some specific iPhone 16 AI updates too. 

The A18 Pro chip is expected to include a significant boost in capacity for edge AI. This should beef up the iPhone 16 Pro's AI capabilities, but whether that will also apply to the iPhone 16 is unclear. It was also reported in February that Apple's standard A18 processor would also include "greatly upgraded" internals and that Apple would "significantly increase the number of built-in AI computing cores." 

Apple is also expected to include some kind of generative AI with its iPhone 16 that could vary depending on where you by it. For instance, Apple is reportedly in talks with China's Baidu over generational AI technology for the iPhone 16. A deal could see the iPhone 16 in China debut Baidu's Ernie Bot as an AI companion for iPhone users. Elsewhere, Apple is reportedly in talks with both Google and OpenAI over their respective Gemini and ChatGPT tools

Kuo Ming-Chi reported in December that Apple's iPhone 16 would also get a significant microphone upgrade to help complement improved AI with regards to Siri. Stating that "all iPhone 16 models will feature a significant upgrade in microphone specifications" including better water resistance and a better signal-to-noise ratio. The latter would improve how good Siri is at picking up your voice in spite of background noise. 

iPhone 16: Wi-Fi 6E and 5G

iPhone 15 Review

(Image credit: Future)

Wi-Fi 6E

The iPhone 16 is expected to feature all of the same 5G specs as the previous model. However, according to Jeff Pu, Apple will incorporate Wi-Fi 6E into the iPhone 16 for the first time later this year, a feature currently reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro models. To compensate, the iPhone 16 Pro could get even faster Wi-Fi 7. Wi-Fi 6E would allow the iPhone to connect to the internet over the 6Hz band when used with a Wi-Fi 6E router, offering real-world speeds of around 1Gbps. 

5G

While the iPhone 16 Pro is tipped to get a groundbreaking new Snapdragon X75 modem, the iPhone 16 is touted get the older, but still potent, Qualcomm X70 instead. Jeff Pu reported as much as far back as October 2022, stating that both iPhone 15 and iPhone 16 would use the same modem. Teardowns confirmed the iPhone 15's modem upgrade late last year, after it had already been established the iPhone 15 Pro contained the chip. As such, the iPhone 16 Pro will feature a spicier 5G chip compared to the cheaper models. 

iPhone 16: Storage

Apple currently offers the regular iPhone models in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB of storage. Earlier this year it was reported that the iPhone 16 lineup could feature QLC NAND SSD technology in the heftier 1TB model, which is a cheaper solution that could see improved SSD prices. However, the 1TB storage option may remain exclusive to the Pro models. 

iPhone 16: Cameras

iPhone 15 Plus review

(Image credit: Future)

Buyers who want the very best iPhone cameras tend to lean towards the Pro models, but with the iPhone 15 Apple brought a 48-megapixel camera to the non-Pro lineup for the first time. That's expected to remain in place for the iPhone 16, with few details having made it into the public domain to suggest anything will change on that front. We still expect the same setup which means a 48-megapixel main camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide.

In terms of the selfie camera, that's likely to remain a 12-megapixel part unless something changes between now and launch day. That doesn't mean that there won't be any changes, though.

See more

X leaker @URedditor previously claimed that the iPhone 16 will feature a revised camera layout that will see the dual-lens system switch orientation. The iPhone 13, iPhone 14, and iPhone 15 have lenses in a diagonal configuration, but that's rumored to be changing to the vertical orientation we saw on the iPhone 12.

This could help Spatial Video recording, and the leak was most recently spotted again in iPhone 16 designs from MacRumors, which revealed the vertical orientation. 

In February, parts pertaining to the iPhone 16's camera housing were revealed seemingly confirming the change.

iPhone 16: Design

iPhone 15 Review

(Image credit: Future)

Design

The iPhone 15 gave us an amazing new design with a beautiful frosted, matte back, as well as smoother edges. According to reports, Apple has considered a significant design change that might have seen a unified camera bump not unlike that of the old iPhone X. In fact, Apple was reportedly testing three designs, including the aforementioned iPhone X tribute last year. 

In February, leaks revealed Apple had settled on the least radical of the three possible designs that will see a camera bump almost identical to that of the iPhone 15, but with the two lenses arranged vertically instead of diagonally. This should pave the way for filming spatial video for Apple Vision Pro on iPhone 16. 

Apple reportedly tested a unified volume button for the iPhone 16 but may have scrapped this in favor of the current design. 

Leaked CAD files purporting to show the iPhone 16 seem to confirm this switch. Apple's iPhone 16 appears to be relatively similar to the iPhone 15 with its flat back and curved edges. However, the files reveal a reconfigured rear camera, as well as new buttons. Leaked iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro dummy units surfaced in April also confirm this all-new design. As a result of the camera switch, the iPhone 16's bump appears to be much narrower than its previous models, with a flash housed in the back of the device proper, rather than the raised camera "island." 

Colors

There are currently no rumors about the prospective colors of the iPhone 16. Apple iPhone 15 lineup is available in black, blue, green, yellow, and pink. These colors were all fairly muted, but benefit from a tremendous new color infusion technology that Apple says is an industry first. As such, we'd expect Apple to bring back the frosted, matte glass back with the iPhone 16, possibly in some different shades. Apple has also eschewed the mid-cycle color update we've seen in previous years, so don't expect a surprise color in early 2025, either. 

There are reports that the iPhone 16 Pro could debut new colors including space black and a new pink/bronze color, possibly rose gold. As such, we know Apple is planning a color refresh for the more premium lineup, there's no reason to expect it wouldn't do the same for the rest of the lineup. 

iPhone 16 dummy units

(Image credit: Sonny Dickson)

Dummy models from earlier in the year also highlighted the new Capture button alongside the iPhone 16's lock button on the right-hand side in place of the mmWave antenna (found on U.S. iPhones). 

iPhone 16 dummy units

(Image credit: OvO Baby Sauce OvO)

The first iPhone 16 part leak, recorded in February, also revealed components for a new vertically aligned camera module. 

iPhone 16 dummy units

(Image credit: Majin Bu)

iPhone 16: New buttons

An iPhone 15 Pro Max against an abstract multi-colored retro background.

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)

Action button

When Apple launched the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro they were the first models to gain the Action button. Similar to the button of the same name found on the Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch Ultra 2, it allows people to configure actions that can then be run by pressing a single hardware button.

Recent rumors have suggested that Apple intends to bring the Action button down the lineup, adding it to the iPhone 16 in 2024. However, this won't be the same Action button found in the iPhone 15 Pro models. Instead, rumors suggest that Apple is getting ready to ditch the clicky button, replacing it with a new touch-sensitive one. A similar button was rumored for the iPhone 15 Pro models earlier in 2023, but Apple ultimately decided against that approach. Now, it appears it might be ready to revisit it.

Capture button

Not content with bringing the Action button to the iPhone 16, Apple is also rumored to be adding another button to the mix. Dubbed the Capture button, this will reportedly be used for capturing video on the iPhone 16 at the push of a button. This report was reiterated by The Information earlier this year, which again reported the iPhone 16 is getting a dedicated camera button with pressure sensitivity that can be used to dynamically change your zoom. 

Our most recent iPhone 16 design leaks again point to this Action Button and a Capture button on the right-hand side of the device below the Lock button. 

In March, leaked CAD files depicting the iPhone 16 revealed the design includes an Action button and a Capture button. Dummy units of the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro leaked in late April also feature the new Capture button alongside the Action button. 

iPhone 16: Battery life and charging

According to information published in February, Apple's iPhone 16 will have a 3561mAh battery. That's up from 3349mAh in the iPhone 15, however, this doesn't immediately indicate we can expect longer battery life. It's possible that with the added power draw of a more potent chip and other features, the expected real-world battery life of the iPhone 16 will remain similar to the iPhone 16. Here's a quick rundown of the expected battery life for the iPhone 16 models.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 15iPhone 16
6.1-inch iPhone3349mAh3561mAh
6.7-inch Plus4383mAh4006mAh
6.1/3-inch Pro3290mAh3355mAh
6.7/9-inch Pro Max4422mAh4676mAh

Apple's entire iPhone 16 lineup is expected to stick with USB-C charging, as well as support for MagSafe and Qi 2 wireless charging. The only prospective upgrade (which isn't rumored, so this is speculation) would be the advent of USB 3 for faster data transfer speeds. However, this is a key point of differentiation between the iPhone and the iPhone "Pro" models, so seems unlikely to change. 

iPhone 16: Price

The complete iPhone 15 lineup at Apple's Regent Street store in London, U.K.

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 15 didn't bring with it a price hike which was a surprise to some. As Apple continues to add new features and technology, the cost of building these devices continues to increase. With that in mind, Apple may need to increase the price to compensate for the extra expense. However, rumors to that effect are yet to appear but that could change as we get closer to that expected September launch window.

Apple did not raise the price of its current iPhone 15 when it was unveiled last year, here's the current pricing mode:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 15iPhone 15 Plus
128GB$799$899
256GB$899$999
512GB$1,099$1,199

Apple's new iPhone 16 lineup is now less than 6 months away. Between now and then, there should be plenty more rumors coming out about what we can expect to see in Apple's latest and greatest flagship smartphone, so stay tuned for all the latest information here. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

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