Apple plans some big upgrades for the iPhone 16 lineup in 2024. The phones could get even bigger displays, with AI integration helping make Siri smarter (and, hopefully, a lot more useful).

These changes should arrive on top of the usual yearly upgrades like faster A-series chips and brighter displays. So, what should you expect from iPhones in 2024? Read below to find out.

2023 was a big year for the iPhone, with Apple introducing some major upgrades, including the switch to a titanium chassis for Pro models and a 5x tetraprism telephoto lens in the Pro Max.

With the iPhone 15 Pro models packing such significant upgrades over previous models, don’t expect 2024’s iPhones to feature radical hardware changes. Instead, the improvements will be more minor. But combined, they should deliver a better user experience.

Table of contents:

Bigger ‘Pro’ displays

Apple last bumped the screen size of its Pro iPhones in 2020 with the launch of the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max. Since then, the company’s premium iPhones have shipped with a 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display. Apple has made the usual yearly upgrades, like using screens with higher peak brightness, slimmer bezels, and better efficiency. However, the screen size has remained unchanged.

This might change in 2024, with rumors indicating Apple will increase the iPhone 16 Pro’s display to 6.3-inch. The iPhone 16 Pro Max could use a massive 6.9-inch panel, making it the largest iPhone ever.

Thanks to the titanium frame, the iPhone 15 Pro lineup is lighter than its predecessor. So, even if Apple increases the screen size of its 2024 iPhones, it should not make them unwieldy or difficult to carry around. Another positive effect would be more internal room for a larger battery and a beefier cooling system. These upgrades should help improve sustained performance and boost the battery life of the 2024 iPhones.

On the downside, a bigger display means the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max would be larger than their predecessors.

Some rumors point to Apple shrinking the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 16 by using under-display Face ID. But no reputable source has confirmed this yet, and given this would require a major technological breakthrough, it might not happen in 2024.

As for the regular iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, their display size will seemingly remain unchanged. However, the screens itself could get a brightness boost and feature slimmer bezels.

Pro Max could lose the 5x exclusivity

iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 16 Pro could get a 5x tetraprism sensor next year.
Photo: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

If you want the iPhone with the best camera right now, you must opt for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It is the only iPhone in Apple’s lineup to feature a 5x tetraprism shooter. This enables it to offer greater flexibility than the iPhone 15 Pro’s 3x telephoto camera.

Rumors say Apple will bring the same 5x tetraprism shooter to the iPhone 16 Pro in 2024, bridging the gap between its two Pro iPhones. One leak claimed the iPhone 16 Pro Max could get a super telephoto sensor. However, other sources have yet to corroborate this information.

Apple might switch to a vertical camera placement on its 2024 non-Pro iPhones, making them look like the iPhone 12. But these phones are unlikely to get a telephoto sensor like their Pro siblings.

Ultra Wide camera could get a 48MP boost

The iPhone 16 Pro could switch to a higher resolution 48MP sensor for the Ultra Wide camera for better performance. With the use of pixel binning, the phone can capture photos with more details and sharpness than what’s currently possible. Additionally, it could allow Apple to bring 48MP ProRAW support to the Ultra Wide lens.

Action and Capacitive Capture buttons for all

This year, Apple dumped the mute switch and added a customizable Action button to the iPhone 15 Pro. Next year, Apple might bring the Action button to the entire iPhone 16 lineup, ending its Pro exclusivity.

Even more intriguingly, leaks suggest the company will add a new capacitive Capture button to 2024’s iPhones. This mysterious new bit of hardware reportedly will feature force sensor functionality, enabling the button to trigger an action based on the pressure applied.

The capacitive button seemingly will sit below the side button on the iPhone’s right edge. Its exact functionality remains unclear, but it could be used as a shutter button in the Camera app.

Solid-state power and volume buttons?

Closeup of iPhone 15’s new Action button.
The iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button could get a capacitive makeover next year.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

There were multiple rumors of the iPhone 15 using solid-state volume and power buttons. However, the plan was reportedly shelved due to “unresolved technical issues.” Rumors only mention the iPhone 16’s Action button getting a solid-state makeover, while the fate of the volume and power keys is unclear. We should get more clarity on this front as the iPhone 16 inches closer to its mass production.

Apple already uses solid buttons with haptic feedback on the iPhone SE and its MacBooks. The trackpads on the latter provide haptic feedback when pressed to imitate the feeling of the glass surface being pressed.

A18, Wi-Fi 7 and newer 5G modem

With every new iPhone launch, Apple announces a new A-series chip with a faster CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine. Apple’s 2024 iPhones should use the A18 Pro chip based on TSMC’s updated 3nm (N3E) node with better efficiency. The non-Pro models will apparently get the A18 chip, instead of the A17 Pro found on the iPhone 15 Pro. While leaks surrounding the A18 Pro’s performance have not popped up online yet, expect the Neural Engine to get a notable speed boost.

Apple’s Mac and iPhone lineup switched to Wi-Fi 6E in 2023. And while Wi-Fi 7 is yet to see mass adoption, the company apparently plans to switch to the latest Wi-Fi standard on the iPhone 16 Pro next year, per analyst Jeff Pu.

Apple was working on its in-house Wi-Fi chips but reportedly gave up on them this year. So, if the iPhone 16 Pro ships with Wi-Fi 7 support, it would be due to a chip from Broadcom and not Apple.

In recent years, Apple has used Qualcomm’s newest 5G modem on its latest iPhone. The same story should repeat in 2024, with the iPhone 16 using the San Diego chipmaker’s next-gen X75 baseband, which supports 5G Advanced. While this might seem like a small upgrade, a newer modem can provide better 5G connectivity while consuming less power.

The regular iPhone 16 models will supposedly stick to the same X70 modem as found on the iPhone 15 series.

Stacked battery and faster charging?

An alleged image of the iPhone 16 Pro’s battery indicates Apple will use a 3355mAh call on its 2024 iPhone. More importantly, the battery ships with a metal plate on top, which should help with heat dissipation. Apple could also use stacked batteries on its 2024 iPhones, though this rumor first popped up for the iPhone 15 lineup.

Stacked batteries provide higher energy density, a stable internal structure and a longer life span. They also could enable faster wired charging support on the iPhones.

Siri might get an AI boost

2023 was all about AI, AI and AI in the tech world. And you are going to hear a lot more about AI in 2024. While many major tech companies have gone all in on generative AI, Apple has been surprisingly missing from the race. This could change when Apple unveils iOS 18 at WWDC24.

Reportedly, the company’s engineers are working hard to integrate AI into iOS 18. Siri will also get a complete overhaul to make it smarter using Apple’s large language model. Apple could use superior microphones on the iPhone 16 to ensure Siri can pick up your questions even from a distance.

Siri desperately needs some ChatGPT-like smarts
Siri might get a lot better in iOS 18.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Additionally, AI should come to Apple’s system apps, like Apple Music and Pages, to boost productivity.

All your favorite apps and services have likely already adopted AI, and Apple lags behind the competition here (although Apple CEO Tim Cook says AI is “absolutely critical” to the company’s products already). A higher-profile integration of AI into iOS 18 and Siri could bring a better user experience.

iPhone Ultra?

For the last few years, the iPhone Pro Max model has represented the best iPhone that Apple offers. This could change in 2024, with the company possibly launching an iPhone Ultra. It would sit above the iPhone 16 Pro Max, packing superior specs to justify its Ultra name (and a higher price tag).

Rumors have not yet detailed what improvements the iPhone Ultra could pack. So, it is difficult to imagine how this high-end model could stand above the iPhone 16 lineup.

The usual improvements like a brighter display, better cameras and longer battery life seem like a given. One rumor even suggested the iPhone 16 Ultra could feature a super telephoto lens with a 300mm+ focal length. But would you be willing to pay more for an Ultra model just for these upgrades?

Better texting with Android users

iMessage bullying
Apple will somewhat fix the iMessage problem in 2024.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Texting with your Android friends is about to get a lot better in 2024. Apple announced it will add RCS support to the iPhone’s Messages app next year.

Right now, iPhone and Android users must rely on SMS and MMS to exchange texts. This outdated standard lacks support for emoji reactions, read receipts and other advanced features. This will change once RCS support comes to Messages, enabling a better messaging experience between the two platforms.

The blue versus green bubbles discrimination will continue, though. Encrypted iMessage conversations with your iPhone friends will still use the blue bubble. And texts from your Android friends will have the green bubble.

Bigger price tag

Contrary to rumors, Apple did not bump the iPhone 15 Pro lineup’s price this year, at least on paper. But if you wanted to buy the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you had to spend $1,199 — an extra $100 over the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This was due to the company discontinuing the 128GB base model.

For 2024, Apple could do something similar with the iPhone 16 Pro by phasing out its 128GB entry-level variant. This would effectively increase its price from $999 to $1,099. Given the bigger screen, a 5x telephoto camera and other upgrades, this is certainly possible.

Apple has other important launches in 2024

The iPhone is no longer Apple’s sole flagship product. From Macs to iPads to Apple Watch, Apple’s product lineup is much more diverse now. And yet, the iPhone generates the most revenue for the company.

After the iPhone 15 Pro’s big upgrades, the iPhone 16 lineup likely will bring only a few hardware changes. But that does not mean next year’s iPhones won’t be major product releases. Expect to see a lot more changes and improvements on the software side, especially with Apple integrating AI into iOS 18 and Siri.

From a hardware perspective, Apple undoubtedly will focus on the Vision Pro headset launch in the first quarter of 2024. And in the second half, it should be the rumored Apple Watch X. (The company’s smartwatch has not received a big upgrade in a few years, and that could change in 2024.) Apple also plans to upgrade the entire iPad lineup next year.

[ For more curated Apple news, check out the main news page here]

What to expect from iPhone in 2024

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