Apple revealed a slate of new products at its recent Wonderlust event, including the new iPhone 15 lineup, Apple Watch Series 9, and Apple Watch Ultra 2. We also got a minor update for the AirPods Pro in the form of a new USB-C charging case to align with the iPhone ditching Lightning.
This year, there’s actually a lot to love about the iPhone 15, as it’s a much bigger upgrade than its predecessor. We now have the Dynamic Island across the entire lineup, USB-C charging, a 48MP camera, and a beautiful display that reaches double the brightness of the iPhone 14 with 2,000 nits. It also packs in the A16 Bionic chip that launched with the iPhone 14 Pro.
For the iPhone 15 Pro, we now have titanium instead of stainless steel, thinner bezels, and the A17 Pro chip. Plus, the mute switch is now an Action button. And for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, there is a new tetraprism telephoto camera that can reach 5x optical zoom instead of the 3x optical zoom for the standard iPhone 15 Pro.
Though the improvements for the standard and Pro models of the iPhone 15 are definitely impressive, it may not be worth the upgrade if you already have an iPhone 14 device. Instead, there are a few reasons why you may want to wait for the iPhone 16 instead.
New solid-state buttons
When the iPhone 15 rumor cycle began, there was a lot of talk about Apple changing how the volume buttons would work. Instead of being physical buttons, the rumors seemed to indicate that they would become solid-state buttons instead. It’s similar to how the Home button on old iPhones eventually switched from an actual button to glass that provided haptic feedback instead, simulating the feel of a button press.
At some point, reports came out that Apple encountered some technical difficulties with this, as it would require more haptic engines inside the body. Apple scrapped the plan for the iPhone 15, as all models for it retain the two physical buttons. But we did get the Action button on the iPhone 15 Pro models.
But just because it was canceled for the iPhone 15 doesn’t mean it’s forever. Apple simply delayed the inevitable, and we could very well see the switch over to solid-state buttons for the iPhone 16 Pro models in 2024.
And since Apple likes to eventually bring Pro features over to the standard models, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Action button on the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus.
For years, many people have been waiting for Apple to do an under-display fingerprint or Face ID sensor. Though the fingerprint one is probably not going to happen any time soon, the Face ID sensor is a better possibility with the higher-end iPhone 16 Pro models, if we’re lucky.
Ming-Chi Kuo, a respected Apple supply chain analyst, has hinted in the past that Apple could begin adopting under-display front camera tech starting in 2024. This would mean a larger display area compared to having the notch or Dynamic Island like in years past.
But of course, other analysts like Ross Young, as well as Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, have disputed this and claim that this tech could become possible starting in 2025, which would mean it would have to wait until the iPhone 17.
So while this could be a possibility, don’t hold your breath.
More RAM and better performance
It’s a given that the iPhone 16 will no doubt have a better chip with the inevitable A18, at least in the Pro models. But Apple has been bringing the previous generation’s Pro chip into the standard models, so next year, the A17 should be in the iPhone 16, with the A18 coming to the iPhone 16 Pro.
But it’s more than just the chip inside. While the iPhone 15 still seems to have 6GB RAM, which has been standard in iPhones for the past few years, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max have 8GB RAM. This is due to the A17 Pro chip, which gives them a big upgrade.
However, with the iPhone 16, we could see this RAM increase trickle down to the base models as well. Again, the A17 Pro chip of the iPhone 15 Pro is likely to end up in the standard iPhone 16 next year, so a RAM increase would make sense.
More RAM means better performance and efficiency, and that would be a win for everyone.
The start of the iPhone Ultra era
In the weeks leading up to the iPhone 15 event, there were a lot of rumors circulating around a possible name change for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, with Apple possibly changing it to “iPhone Ultra.”
Now that the event has passed, we can see that this did not come true at all. But the iPhone 16 could change this. There have been some reports that the iPhone 16 Pro models may even see a size increase, with the largest going up to around 6.9 inches while the standard Pro size may increase to 6.3 inches. This would be a good way to introduce the iPhone 16 Ultra.
A new telephoto camera for the Pro
One of the disappointing elements of the iPhone 15 Pro lineup is that only the iPhone 15 Pro Max is getting the tetraprism telephoto camera, enabling optical zoom up to 5x. For folks who don’t like giant phones, the telephoto on the iPhone 15 Pro is once again stuck at 3x optical zoom.
But this may change with the iPhone 16 Pro lineup. Rumors seem to indicate that since Apple may be making the iPhone 16 a tad bigger, there may be room to fit the periscope camera in both Pro models. One of the reasons that the tetraprism telephoto is only in the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year is due to the physical size of the device.
For those who like big phones, the iPhone 16 Pro Max may also be getting a “super” periscope that offers even more optical zoom. It would be amazing to see an iPhone that offers a zoom range as good as something like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, for example.
The iPhone 15 lineup isn’t even out yet, but with a bit of digging around, it looks like the iPhone 16 could be even better and worth the wait. Of course, none of this information is confirmed, and it’s all just rumors and speculation. If any of these whispers turn out to be true, though, the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro could be very capable.
I myself look forward to having a smaller iPhone Pro model that can be equal to its larger sibling. I really dislike that Apple changed this, as I’ve always wanted to have the best camera in a smaller form factor. The last time Apple had non-equal cameras in the Pro models was with the iPhone 12.
If the iPhone 16 Pro addresses that, along with everything else we could see, it’s safe to say that 2024 should be an exciting one for the iPhone.