iPhone 16 Pro vs iPhone 16: All expected differences

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Intro

In September, just a few months from now, Apple is expected to unveil four new iPhone 16 models. Among them will be two larger devices, the iPhone 16 Pro Max and iPhone 16 Plus, and two smaller phones, the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16.

If like me, you find the big ones too big, well, read on! In this article, we will focus only on the smaller models, exploring all the differences between the iPhone 16 Pro and the more affordable iPhone 16.

This is not an easy choice, but this year, the differences between these two models are bigger than usual: the iPhone 16 Pro is expected to be slightly larger and have a faster chipset, a dedicated telephoto camera and a buttery smooth ProMotion screen.

But these are far from the only differences, so let’s dive right in and see if you should save up with the iPhone 16 or go all out with the iPhone 16 Pro.

iPhone 16 Pro vs iPhone 16 expected differences:

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

The iPhone 16 Pro is now bigger, but not by much

For years, the regular iPhone and the Pro model were roughly the same nice and compact size, at about 6.1 inches. But this year, for the first time, we expect to see a bigger, 6.3-inch iPhone 16 Pro model, while the regular version will stick with the smaller, 6.1-inch size from the past.

Compact phone lovers might be troubled by this now bigger Pro model, but admittedly it’s not a huge difference. The Pro model also has very slim bezels, which help shrink the size a bit.

The rest is familiar stuff: a triple camera on the Pro, and a dual camera on the vanilla model (but now in a pill-shaped island).

There is also a divide in materials. The iPhone 16 Pro is expected to use a fancy titanium frame, while the iPhone 16 will likely use cheaper aluminum. Both devices are said to get a frosted glass back.

New on all iPhone 16 models are the number and arrangement of the physical buttons. You will see an Action Button above the volume keys on the left, and a new Camera Button below the power button on the right (the mmWave antenna on US models is moved to the bottom left, in case you are wondering). These two new keys are cool! You already know how the Action Button works, but the Camera Button is brand new. It is said to act like a camera shutter key: press it lightly to focus, press it all the way to take a picture.

And the rest is all familiar stuff: a USB-C port on the bottom and IP68 water and dust protection.

Next up, screens. A slightly bigger, 6.3-inch display on the iPhone 16 Pro will give you more space to work with, while the iPhone 16 has a 6.1-inch screen.

Apple is also rumored to use new micro-lens technology to make the screens brighter and to lower their power consumption. And that’s all good, but that’s not quite what users asked for. What users asked for was 120Hz ProMotion support on all iPhone models, and unfortunately the regular iPhone 16 is still stuck with a 60Hz refresh rate!

Rumors say Apple will finally change that with the iPhone 17, but you would have to wait one more year for that to happen.

Did we mention the iPhone 16 Pro will also have slimmer bezels for a more fancy look than the iPhone 16? That seems almost certain. 

Performance and Software

To Pro or to simp

Apple is ready to jump head first into AI with the iPhone 16 family and you know that will require a bit more firepower.

Both new iPhone 16 models will arrive with new 3nm chipsets, but slightly different ones. The iPhone 16 Pro will likely end up with an A18 Pro chip, while the iPhone 16 will get a regular A18 chip. The naming might be different, but the performance divide between the two models will likely be there.

The regular iPhone 16, however, is closing the gap in RAM. It is said to have 8GB of RAM on board, same as the Pro model. That probably has a lot to do with AI features requiring more RAM and is a good indication that all four new iPhone 16 models will support the same AI magic.

When it comes to storage, chances are we will still have a base model with 128GB storage on both. The Pro, however, will also be offered in a 1TB option, which will likely not be available for the vanilla model.

Camera

Zoom, zoom, zoom

Apart from ProMotion, camera quality has been the other noticeable difference between a Pro and non-Pro iPhones.

And this year, that difference is only growing as the iPhone 16 Pro is expected to get not only a more capable, 5X zoom camera, but also a brand new 48MP ultra-wide shooter with better low-light performance. ProRES video, recording to SSD and a few other power user features will also remain available only on the Pro model.

The regular iPhone 16, however, still has a 48MP main camera that matches the one on the 16 Pro.

And this year, the iPhone 16 also gets Spatial Video support, which was missing. Spatial Video is basically 3D video that looks incredibly real on the Apple Vision Pro and other AR/VR headsets. Not many people own such a headset to enjoy this format, so it might not be a game-changer, but if you have experienced this video format, you know that it could be a really powerful way to relive the past.

All four iPhone 16 models are expected to also get a bunhc of new AI-powered image and video editing features. Remove an object from a photo, smart resize, smart move are just some of the new tricks we expect Apple to borrow from the Samsung and Google AI handbooks.

Audio Quality and Haptics

When it comes to audio quality, loudspeakers have improved very slightly, but Apple makes some tweaks and refinements every year and we expect the same to happen this year. The company typically does not advertize this and it’s not a huge upgrade, so keep that in mind.

We don’t expect any difference between the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 when it comes to haptics: both will have the same Taptic Engine inside after all.

Battery Life and Charging

Bigger size, but… smaller battery?

You might think that a larger, 6.3-inch iPhone 16 Pro will be great for battery life, after all, a bigger size means a possibly larger battery too, but you might be disappointed.

Leaks suggest the iPhone 16 Pro will get only a very marginal, 2.5% battery size increase.

While regular iPhone 16 – despite keeping the same 6.1-inch size – is actually said to get a bigger, 6% battery bump.

So at the end of the day, the Pro model might have slightly worse battery life than the regular model. But let us be clear, the focus here is on “slightly”! The changes in battery size are tiny and chances are the real-world battery life experience will be more or less the same on these two.

Surprisingly, we might see faster charging on either the iPhone 16 Pro models or even all four new iPhone 16 models.

Some rumors say Apple will support 40W fast wired charge and faster, 20W MagSafe wireless charging on the iPhone 16 series. Will this happen? We are not sure and knowing Apple’s conservative approach to charging, we have some doubts, but it’s a possibility.

Specs Comparison

And here is an overview of the iPhone 16 Pro vs iPhone 16 specs:

Which one should you buy?

So… which one should you go for?

Let’s start with price. We don’t know the exact numbers yet, but it’s possible Apple will stick with $800 price for the iPhone 16 and $1,000 for the iPhone 16 Pro, so a price difference of $200. Another possibility is Apple raises prices slightly, and our guess is that could be a $50 price bump.

As for features, the two factors that drive users to upgrade to the Pro are not likely to change: the iPhone 16 Pro will have 120Hz ProMotion and a zoom camera, the iPhone 16 will not.

The rest are far less influential changes, but camera enthusiasts might appreciate the improved ultra-wide camera on the Pro, while those looking to save a buck will like having the new Action Button and Camera Button on the regular model.

If you have the money, our advice would be to go with the Pro this year, but you can be certain that either one will not disappoint.


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