iPhone 16 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro: What are the expected differences?

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Intro

In the past few years, if you wanted a reasonably compact iPhone, you had to go with a 6.1-inch size, but for the first time this year, Apple is changing that formula.

The new iPhone 16 Pro, which is expected to arrive in the middle of September, will almost certainly arrive with a slightly bigger, 6.3-inch screen size.
Thanks to even smaller bezels around the screen, the actual physical size of the iPhone 16 Pro will not change much from the iPhone 15 Pro. However, this slight change will allow for a bigger battery, a new telephoto camera with longer, 5X zoom, as well as a few other changes. It all seems like win-win with a very slight impact to how compact the smaller iPhone feels.

So let’s dive deeper and explore all the expected differences between the upcoming iPhone 16 Pro and the current iPhone 15 Pro.

Do keep in mind that this is a preview of what is to come and the information you will find below is based on the many leaks and the trust-worthy rumors, but this is not official or final information.

iPhone 16 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro differences:

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

A slight bigger size and a new button

As we’ve already mentioned, the big change in the iPhone 16 Pro will be the new 6.3-inch screen size and the reduced bezel around that screen. All of that will make for an even more futuristic look, while staying in line with the mostly compact dimensions these iPhones are known for.

A 6.3-inch screen size is probably the sweet middle ground for many people, and we are glad that Apple has recognized that and is moving to a slightly larger form factor.

However, if you really value a smaller phone, the iPhone 15 Pro will be the more compact of the two, so you might prefer it for that reason alone.

Materials are not expected to change: both models are likely to have that fancy titanium frame with a Ceramic shield and a matte glass back.

Apple, however, will likely bring some new and livelier colors with the iPhone 16 Pro. One of the bigger complaints about the iPhone 15 Pro model were just the muted and somewhat bland colors.

The other exciting change is the new Camera capture button. We even have leaked dummy models and CAD drawings showing this new button is indeed happening. It will be a two-way button, just like on a traditional camera, and if you currently use the Action Button for quick access to the camera, that will free it up for something else. Also, it might mean that we get customizable lock screen buttons! Hooray for customization, we love where Apple is going with that.

The rest remains the same: IP68 water and dust protection, USB-C port for charging, the Dynamic Island remains with Face ID in it, and the unboxing experience will not change either as you get just a cable in the box and no charger.

Display Differences

With 120Hz ProMotion on both phones, the one and major change is just the added screen real estate with a 6.3-inch size compared to the 6.1-inch screen on the iPhone 15 Pro.

We also mentioned the slimmer screen borders, and we also expect the screen on the 16 Pro to be up to 20% brighter than before for SDR content, as per rumors.

One feature we think Apple should seriously consider is a type of coating that would reduce the reflectivity of the screen outdoors. Samsung uses this in the Galaxy S24 Ultra, and it’s been a revelation, but so far there are no rumors about it, so it’s probably not happening. You could get a similar reduction in reflectivity with a custom screen protector, though.

Don’t expect any major changes to Face ID either. Apple is said to be working on an invisible front camera and that might arrive one day in the distant future, but it also may not, and all evidence says it will NOT come to the iPhone 16 Pro

Performance and Software

New chipset might be a bigger deal than expected

Apple has done remarkable things with its A series iPhone processors and M series chips in MacBooks, but it has competition breathing down its neck (cough, Qualcomm Snapdragon).

Expert analysis has shown that the Apple A18 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro achieves industry-leading performance, but at the cost of power use and in some areas like gaming, the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip actually has the edge.

So the new Apple A19 Pro chip (not the official or final name) will have something to prove. Luckily, Apple is said to have been on a transitional node with the last generation chipset, and it will make the jump to a new 3nm process with the A19 Pro, so we have reasons to be optimistic.

Both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro are expected to have 8GB of RAM, so no changes on that front.

We are yet to hear more about new AI features in iOS, but the current expectations are that both the iPhone 16 Pro and 15 Pro will benefit from the same AI capabilities. The slightly faster chipset of the iPhone 16 Pro might give it a slight edge, but even that is not certain.

There is one more upgrade that might go a bit under the radar, and that is a new modem (the Qualcomm Snapdragon X75), which should help with connectivity and ensuring you have better signal in more places.

Along with this modem, the iPhone 16 Pro might also support Wi-Fi 7 compared to Wi-Fi 6 on the iPhone 15 Pro. The benefits are theoretically 2.4X faster speeds and lower latency, if you have an ideal connection.

 

Camera

A new zoom camera is both a blessing and a curse

Both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro will have three cameras on their back, but one of them will be brand new on the 16 Pro. It is getting a 5X telephoto camera, a change from the 3X zoom camera on the 15 Pro.

Is that an upgrade?

We are not so sure. The obvious benefit of a longer zoom is you will get improved detail at 5X, 10X and further.

However, you are losing a very useful 3X optical zoom option that is very commonly used by many people. 3X zoom is also arguably perfect for portrait mode shots, while a 5X portrait is essentially a face shot and not quite as versatile or useful in real life.

So we have mixed feelings about this change.

We don’t expect to see big changes to the 48MP main camera.

But then you also should get a new 48MP ultra-wide camera on the iPhone 16 Pro, and that change is absolutely welcome. Expect more detailed shots, fewer issues and better low-light performance for ultra-wide shots at 0.5X.

So far, we have not heard much about new video features or other fancy new camera options. We won’t be surprised, however, by some new AI feature, and we certainly would love to see an improvement to photo editing features in the Photos app.

Battery Life and Charging

The perfect moment for Apple to improve battery life

A physically larger iPhone such as the iPhone 16 Pro sounds like the perfect opportunity to make a leap in battery life, but you might be disappointed.

With a new physical button and a larger camera system, there might just not be enough space for a much larger battery inside the iPhone 16 Pro after all.

Rumors say it’s getting a 3,355mAh battery, a meager 2.5% increase in size over the 3,274mAh battery on the iPhone 15 Pro.

Yes, that’s slightly larger, but is it enough for people to actually notice? Unless we get big gains in software power efficiency, probably not.

Rumors provide far less clarity about the charging speed on the new iPhone 16 Pro. Some sketchy sources claim the new iPhone will get faster, 40W charging speeds (up from 25 watts on the 15 Pro), but we have been hearing such talk for years, and it has never happened, so we remain skeptical.

The iPhone 16 Pro will have MagSafe like previous models, and we have similar, unconfirmed talk about it being faster at 20W (up from 15W on the 15 Pro).

Specs Comparison

And here is an overview of the iPhone 16 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro specs in a table:

Summary

So let’s summarize: the iPhone 16 Pro will have a slightly larger screen while the physical size is changing very slightly, so the phone will remain quite compact.

You get a new 5X zoom camera and a new Camera capture button, plus a new and faster chipset.

The battery size is only very slightly larger, though, so you should not expect big improvements to battery life.

Essentially, the iPhone 16 Pro is shaping up to be yet another slightly nicer iPhone, but unless you really want that larger screen or 5X zoom, it’s hard to see any necessity to upgrade from the 15 Pro.

We still have lots of unresolved questions around these two, though. First is around the price: will Apple keep the same pricing or will the iPhone 16 Pro cost more? Second is AI: will the iPhone 16 Pro offer some unique and incredibly cool AI features?

We will be updating this article as we learn more about that, but feel free to drop your thoughts about how the iPhone 16 Pro is shaping up to be and what you think about that bigger, 6.3-inch screen!


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