One of the recurring predictions for the iPhone 16 is that when it comes to the overall design, Apple isn't going to Think Different this year. A new report from respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo adds weight to reports that while the iPhone 16 may be getting a new camera control and a bigger display too, the overall design of the iPhone isn't going to change significantly in 2024.
Writing on Medium, Kuo talks about current smartphone trends and suggests that this might not be the best iPhone year for Apple: with foldable phones and generative AI hogging the headlines and the attention of high-end phone buyers, Apple's lack of either could count against them in the marketplace.
While Apple is believed to be working on both categories, Kuo doesn't expect a serious iPhone AI push until 2025 at best – which means the iPhone 17, not the iPhone 16. In the meantime Kuo says that Apple is revising its shipment forecasts down while Samsung is doing the opposite for the Samsung Galaxy S24.
What changes are we expecting to see in the iPhone 16?
According to Kuo we shouldn't expect "new iPhone models with significant design changes and the more comprehensive/differentiated GenAI ecosystem/applications until 2025 at the earliest". But we've seen several reports now that predict some minor but still important changes to the iPhone 16 line-up.
The first change is the addition of a capture button on the lower right hand edge of the phone, something we've previously seen on Sony's camera-focused smartphones: it allows for much more convenient camera operation in landscape mode and according to the most recent rumour, also doubles as a zoom control for video.
We're also expecting a minor increase in the screen size, with the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max moving up from 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch displays to 6.3-inch and 6.9-inches. Smaller bezels will make the overall dimensions of the phone much the same as they are now.
Do those changes count as "significant"? Probably not: they're hardly massively redesigning the familiar iPhone form factor. But I know for my own everyday use a capture button would be a really useful improvement, and a slightly bigger screen without a correspondingly bigger phone would be a nice-to-have even if it isn't a must-have.
What's more interesting to me is Kuo's suggestion that we won't see significant AI in this year's iPhone, as that seems to contradict recent reports of a big AI push at this year's developer conference, WWDC, in the summer. I suspect the devil there is in the detail: Kuo doesn't say "no AI"; just not "more comprehensive/differentiated GenAI ecosystem/applications". Hopefully a smarter Siri is still on its way.