Apple launched the iPhone 15 lineup recently, which includes the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Of course, while the new series appears to be a hit with most, it’s not without its own set of issues too.
Despite the fact that the iPhone 15 has only been out for a few weeks, the rumor mill for the iPhone 16 has already begun, though it’s still quite early. But from what we’ve gathered so far, it looks like the iPhone 16 could be another worthy upgrade, especially if you haven’t picked up an iPhone 15 already.
With the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple shook things up in a big way by replacing the silent/ring toggle, which has been on the iPhone since the original, with the Action button.
The default setting for the button is to turn silent/ring on and off, but users can also customize it to do another action — such as opening the camera, starting a voice memo, turning on the flashlight, opening a Shortcut, and more. Especially with the option for Shortcuts, the possibilities that you have with the Action button are virtually endless.
Rumors are swirling that the iPhone 16 Pro will have the Action button sit flush with the device as it transitions to solid-state, rather than physical buttons like what we currently have. Additionally, it’s very likely that all models of the iPhone 16 will have a new button on the right side of the body, which also means the mmWave antenna will move to the left side to accommodate the change. This button seems to be internally called a “Capture Button,” but it’s unclear what this possible new button will actually do.
I think the idea of a new button is quite exciting. Since it’s being internally called a “capture” button, what if it’s for capturing a photo in the Camera app? Yes, you can technically use the Action button (if it’s set to the Camera app) or volume up button to do that right now, but that works best if you have the camera module towards the bottom when holding it in horizontal orientation.
If it’s a capture button for photos and placed near the bottom on the right edge of the phone (underneath the power/Siri button), it would be perfect for capturing selfies or snapping photos with the camera module towards the top in horizontal orientation. I often find it a bit hard and uncomfortable to reach the on-screen capture button when taking a selfie because my thumb is short, so a capture button on the right would help me a lot, actually, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. That said, I could see that as an issue for anyone who uses their left hand for selfies.
That’s probably the biggest use case for a new button, though perhaps it could also work like the Action button as well. I mean, the Action button is currently limited to only one action, so I don’t see the harm in making this new button also customizable — unless Apple changes the Action button to allow for more than one action based on other gestures.
Regardless, the idea of a new button on the iPhone 16 excites me. Whether it will be for all iPhone 16 models or just the higher-end ones is still a mystery.
For the past few years, Apple has given the smaller iPhone Pro models the same camera treatment as the larger Pro Max, but the iPhone 15 line broke that trend. Apple has a new tetraprism telephoto lens that allows for up to 5x optical zoom capability, but it’s exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max only.
This could change with the iPhone 16 Pro, which is rumored to use molded glass lenses that could reduce the thickness and weight of the camera bump while also increasing magnification distance. There’s also the possibility that the iPhone 16 Pro display size will be slightly larger, making it possible to house the 120mm telephoto camera that the iPhone 15 Pro Max uses.
I’m the type of person who upgrades every year, mostly for the camera improvements. However, even though the iPhone 15 Pro Max has the best camera system this year, I went with the smaller iPhone 15 Pro instead since I’m not a big fan of large phones. Personally, they’re harder for me to use comfortably as my hands are more petite, and even with larger Android phones like the Google Pixel 8 Pro, I have trouble reaching the on-screen capture button when taking photos.
If the iPhone 16 Pro is indeed going to have better optical zoom capabilities next year since a slightly larger size can house the 120mm lens, I’d be thrilled. However, I hope that the size doesn’t get too large. I would really prefer if Apple gave both Pro models the same camera treatment again, so maybe this is a step in the right direction.
This next rumor 100% contradicts what I’m hoping for with equal camera treatment for both small and large Pro models.
Some early reports are suggesting that while competitors like Samsung might drop from 10x optical zoom on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Apple may do the opposite and go from 5x to 10x optical zoom on the iPhone 16 Pro Max. This would be made possible due to Apple using advanced molded glass lenses, similar to what we just talked about for the smaller iPhone 16 Pro. This advanced molded glass could result in a smaller camera bump and increase the optical zoom distance with what would be considered a “super telephoto” lens.
While I don’t have the iPhone 15 Pro Max myself, from what I’ve heard and seen in our coverage of the phone, the 5x optical zoom is pretty great (and honestly makes me kind of regret not getting it). If the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be upping the ante by doubling the optical zoom range, then it would definitely be more tempting for me next year.
This year, the iPhone 15 lineup cost a bit more to produce than its predecessor, the iPhone 14. That’s not super surprising, given the fact that the standard iPhone 15 models use a new “color-infused” matte glass back, the Pro models have titanium, and the new components on the inside, like the tetraprism telephoto camera in the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
With this information, there’s a rumor floating around that the increased production cost from this year could trickle down into the prices of the iPhone 16 lineup next year. This, of course, would not be so incredible.
However, it’s important to remember that there have been rumors that the cost of the iPhone is going to go up every year, and it hasn’t really happened. Sure, the iPhone 15 Pro Max seemed like it went up this year, but that’s only because Apple eliminated the 128GB storage option for $1,099 from years past. Now, the iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199 for the 256GB version, which is the equivalent of the 256GB iPhone 14 Pro Max when that was new. The iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, and iPhone 15 Pro did not get any sort of price increase this year, despite reports that we would possibly see higher prices for those.
So, while the rumors suggest that we’ll see higher prices for the iPhone 16 lineup next year, I have my doubts. This is something we hear every year, so I would take it with a grain of salt.
I know that the iPhone 15 lineup just came out, and it’s still very early for iPhone 16 talk. But this is just the nature of the beast — once the new thing is out, the rumors start to pop up for the next one. It’s just how it goes.
I’ve been satisfied with my iPhone 15 Pro so far, but I’m still looking forward to what the iPhone 16 lineup will bring — especially if the smaller iPhone 16 Pro can get more optical zoom range, which it missed out on this year. The idea of a capture button for what I believe could be for the camera would also be fun.
It’s far too early to know anything for certain about the iPhone 16, but assuming these reports hold some truth to them, it’s hard to not start getting excited about what Apple has in store for us next year.