iPhone 16 Pro Max vs iPhone 16 Plus: Expectations



So, the launch of the iPhone 16 series is slowly coming our way, and as always, there are some really tough decisions to be made. The lineup will again consist of four devices, and two of them occupy the niche of big-screen smartphones. One is an ultra-premium flagship; the other is a very good all rounder and a bang for your buck.Yes, we’re talking about the iPhone 16 Pro Max and the iPhone 16 Plus. Today we’re going to explore how these two stack against each other, and even though it’s still early days, we have plenty of info to share with you. Here’s our preliminary iPhone 16 Pro Max vs iPhone 16 Plus comparison!

iPhone 16 Pro Max vs iPhone 16 Plus expected differences:

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

Big, bigger, biggest
When it comes to design, we expect a difference in size for the first time since the iPhone Plus made its comeback a couple of years ago. The iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to feature a huge 6.9-inch screen, which will inevitably lead to a larger phone.

The iPhone 16 Plus, on the other hand, is set to keep the 6.7-inch form factor from its predecessor, and we expect it to be more compact compared to its bigger brother. If we’re to believe the latest rumors, the iPhone 16 Pro Max will measure 163mm in height and 77.58mm in width, versus 160.9 x 77.8 x 7.8 for the iPhone 16 Plus.

The materials will also be different, just like with the previous generation. The iPhone 16 Pro Max will use a titanium frame, while the iPhone 16 Plus will come with good old aluminum.

Last year, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max brought the Action button to the scene, retiring the mute switch for the Pro models. This year, the Action button is coming to the whole lineup, but there’s another change – a capacitive camera button called the Capture button.

This button will reside on the right side and will allow users to zoom in and out by sliding their finger on it and also quickly take pictures by tapping on it. As far as we know, both the iPhone 16 Pro Max and the iPhone 16 Plus will get this new Capture button.

Finally, the color situation is expected to be different. Below, you can find the expected color schemes for both models.

iPhone 16 Pro Max expected colors:

iPhone 16 Plus expected colors:

Display Differences

One of the biggest changes, compared to last year’s lineup, can be found in the display department. The iPhone 16 Pro Max will most likely come with a huge 6.9-inch OLED XDR display, and Apple will also shring the bezels with a new display technology called Border Reduction Structure (BRS). This panel will also feature Apple’s ProMotion, which is a fancy name for the 1-120Hz dynamic refresh rate we’re all familiar with.

The iPhone 16 Plus, on the other hand, won’t see such changes. It looks like the phone will borrow the screen from its predecessor, the iPhone 15 Plus, meaning it will come with a 6.7-inch screen and no variable refresh rate, just a fixed 60Hz, which is a shame, really. According to sources in the industry, Apple will offer 1-120Hz across all models starting with the iPhone 17 series, so no buttery smooth scrolling on the 16 Plus.

The Dynamic Island cutout will be found on both phones, as well as the biometric Face ID system. No changes are expected there, but you know what people say: don’t fix it if it ain’t broken.

Performance and Software

А 3nm battle
The iPhone 16 series will officially debut the new A18 Pro silicon, which is expected to bring a significant leap in performance compared to its predecessor. That being said, the A17 Pro is already a quite powerful chipset, and won’t be a slouch even one year after its debut (it will stay relevant for many years, actually).

The new A18 chipset will be manufactured using 3nm technology, just like with the A17, but thanks to TSMC’s second-gen 3nm manufacturing process, dubbed N3E, we expect better efficiency and a more consistent yield.

The RAM and memory situation is different, but we wouldn’t pay too much attention to hard numbers, as even 6GB of RAM has proven to be enough for almost all tasks you can throw at an iPhone’s direction.

Now, when it comes to software, AI is all the rage nowadays. There are rumors that Apple is working on its own AI, while other industry insiders think that the company is too far behind and will use a third-party solution.

Our prediction here is that Apple might decide to rely on a third-party AI model (rebranded Gemini most likely), at least for the iPhone 16 launch, and later quietly change it for its own AI model. Whether or not Apple will decide to segregate the models by AI capability, we still don’t know. But judging from what other big players are doing, we expect the AI magic to be reserved for the Pro models, so that could be a potential difference between the iPhone 16 Pro Max and the iPhone 16 Plus.


Ultrawide magic, but on the Pro Max only
According to the latest leaks, Apple is gearing up to introduce a new ultrawide camera on the iPhone 16 series. The good news is that it will come with a 1/2.6″ sensor and a pixel size of 0.7um, which is a substantial upgrade over the old 12MP ultrawide Apple has been using for many generations.The bad news is that only the Pro models will get it, and possibly only the iPhone 16 Pro Max at that. The iPhone 16 Plus will most likely come equipped with the old 12MP ultrawide, the same found on its predecessor.

Another big difference is the lack of a dedicated telephoto camera on the iPhone 16 Plus. The Pro Max will come with the same 5x optical zoom tetraprism lens, offering an equivalent 120mm focal length.

Rumor has it that the iPhone 16 Pro Max will feature a new coating on its lenses in order to battle lens flare, which has plagued iPhones for generations now, and it’s especially evident during night shots.

Audio Quality and Haptics

Haptics have always been a strong side of iPhone devices, and we don’t expect that to change in the new iPhone 16 lineup. The Taptic engine has proven itself over the past few generations as a strong and tight vibration source, so this shouldn’t be a consideration when choosing between these two.

The same applies to sound quality. Both phones are expected to deliver a powerful and rich sound. There’s a possibility for a slight advantage for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, as it will feature a larger body, but any potential difference will be tiny.

Finally, there is no 3.5mm jack onboard either of these phones, but this comes as nobody’s surprise (the 3.5mm isn’t coming back to the iPhone, guys).

Battery Life and Charging

Advantage Pro Max
The expected battery capacity for the iPhone 16 Pro Max is 4,676 mAh, which is a slight upgrade compared to its predecessor, and we can attribute that to the larger body of the phone. In comparison, the iPhone 16 Plus is expected to come with a 4,002 mAh cell inside, a clear downgrade from the 4,383 mAh battery in its predecessor, the iPhone 15 Plus.Of course, we will need to run a few tests when the phones launch in order to see how these numbers translate into real-world battery life, so stay tuned for that.

As far as charging goes, the internet is silent. There’s a huge probability both phones will stick with the same 25W wired charging speed through the USB-C connector and up to 15W wireless. And needless to say, there won’t be a charger in the box, just a USB-C cable.

Specs Comparison


So, which one should you buy? Unlike other comparisons, the answer here is straight-forward. If you want the best tech and don’t mind the price tag, go for the iPhone 16 Pro Max. It comes with a huge ProMotion screen, the latest Apple silicon, upgrades in the camera department, and a bigger battery.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option that still features a big display and the longevity and seamless connectivity of the Apple ecosystem, the iPhone 16 Plus could be a better choice.

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