iPhone 16 Pro to Get a 5X Tetraprism Camera and a Cooler Battery
While it’s safe to assume next year’s iPhone Pro models will be an evolution of what we’ve already seen in the iPhone 15 Pro lineup — features like the titanium frame and Action button are undoubtedly here to stay — the iPhone 16 Pro may also get a slight redesign, with reports that Apple plans to bump the screen size to 6.3 inches.
Whether that will be accomplished by smaller bezels around the display or an increase in the size of the frame isn’t yet clear; however, the latter seems like the most likely scenario, as it may be necessary to make room for the tetraprism lens system that was introduced on this year’s iPhone 15 Pro Max to power a higher 5X optical zoom.
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While pushing the larger iPhone Pro ahead of its smaller sibling wasn’t entirely unprecedented — Apple made a similar move with the 2.5X zoom on the iPhone 12 Pro Max in 2020 — it hasn’t been the norm. The iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro had the same features as their Max counterparts, with the only advantages of the larger models being a bigger screen and slightly better battery life due to the larger cell inside.
However, it’s widely believed that the iPhone 15 Pro simply didn’t have room for the new tetraprism lens technology, which forced Apple to leave it behind with the same 3X zoom as its predecessor. Still, Apple would likely prefer to keep its two iPhone Pro models aligned, and moving to a slightly larger frame may be the only way to accomplish that.
Well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo already went on record in September to predict that both iPhone 16 Pro models will gain the new tetraprism camera system. Now he’s doubling down on that in a recent Medium post that predicts that Apple’s orders for the new tetraprism camera, developed by supplier Largan, will increase by 130 percent in 2024.
Apple is expected to include a tetraprism camera in the iPhone 16 Pro, leading to a 160% YoY growth in iPhones with this camera in 2024.Ming-Chi Kuo
Kuo adds that “Apple’s urgent spec upgrades” for the iPhone 15 Pro Max resulted in a production yield of “only about 40%” for the new lenses, leaving supplier Largan in a poor financial position. However, the company has since improved the yield to at least 70%, which should both improve its profitability and ensure it can produce enough of the lenses to fulfill the requirements of both the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max.
Meanwhile, Apple reportedly plans to increase the size of the screen on the iPhone 16 Pro Max to 6.9 inches. This may be partially to maintain a reasonable size gap between the two models. Still, there are other rumors that Apple might push that even further ahead with a “Super Telephoto” camera, with a focal length equivalent of 300mm or more. That would suggest at least a 12.5X optical zoom.
To be clear, the reports of such an enhancement are speculative at best right now and similarly sourced from reading the tea leaves within the supply chain. Since Apple lines up its suppliers many months in advance, this could just as easily be something the company is planning for a 2025 iPhone 17 Pro Max or beyond.
A Cooler Battery?
While it’s not nearly as exciting as a new camera system, it appears that Apple may also be looking at ways to improve the thermals inside the iPhone 16 Pro.
This year’s launch of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max was plagued by numerous reports that the new pro models were almost too hot to handle. Although the head buildup wasn’t enough to start fires or even burn skin, it was an uncomfortable and worrying situation for many new iPhone owners.
Ming-Chi Kuo pointed to thermal design compromises as a possible culprit, suggesting that it wasn’t the A17 Pro’s 3nm process causing the heat but rather the way Apple designed the titanium frame. However, this theory was proven wrong when Apple solved the heat bug in iOS 17.0.3 without compromising the iPhone 15 Pro’s performance.
Nevertheless, Apple undoubtedly wants to continue ensuring that its highest-performance iPhone models don’t become the victims of excessive heat, especially as it prepares for what will almost certainly be an even more powerful “A18 Pro” chip in next year’s iPhone 16 Pro lineup.
To that end, it appears that Apple is working on a new battery design with a metal shell and a redesigned connector, as shown in a series of leaked photos shared by Kosutatmi on X (the social media network formerly known as Twitter).
The photos supposedly depict a battery from an early iPhone 16 Pro prototype. The cell shows a capacity of 3,355 mAh, which is roughly on par with the 3,274 mAh battery in this year’s iPhone 15 Pro, and has a similar physical design.
While it’s too early to tell if this will be the final design, the metallic shell on the outside would likely help with heat dissipation, which would also likely improve the long-term health of these batteries. While heat is one of the worst things for shortening the lifespan of your battery, it’s the heat that’s trapped inside the battery that’s the problem; allowing it to escape properly keeps the internals cooler, resulting in less wear and tear on the internal lithium-ion chemistry.
Nevertheless, while Kosutami does have a pretty good track record, this is still a very early leak of an “early stage” prototype, so it should be taken with a sizeable grain of salt.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]