iPhone 16 Pro: price and release date rumours, leaked photos and what to expect

An Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max held in landscape orientation in front of a table bearing an incense burner. Ted Lasso from Apple TV+ is on the screen
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Apple TV+, Ted Lasso)

If you want the best iPhone Apple makes, you need one of the Pro models. They're more powerful than the non-Pro variants, have more features, better cameras and bigger batteries. And if you opt for the Pro Max model, you'll get the biggest and best iPhone around.

In fact, the iPhone 16 Pro Max is rumoured to be the biggest iPhone ever made.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is currently rated best overall in our best smartphones list, but the iPhone 16 Pro models are shaping up to be even better. They're not due to launch until September (alongside the standard iPhone 16), but rumours say they'll have better screens, new processors, extra AI skills and even better cameras.

We've been monitoring the iPhone rumour mill since the first model launched back in 2007, so we're well versed at picking the nuggets of truth from the masses of hearsay. Here we've rounded up the most prominent rumours concerning the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max. For what iOS 18 will bring to the party, check out our feature.

Let's see what Apple has in store.

iPhone 16 Pro release date prediction

Four colour variations of iPhone 15 Pro standing in a line on a black background

(Image credit: Apple)

September, in a word. That's when Apple has launched almost every iPhone since the iPhone 5 in 2012 (bar the iPhone X, which launched in November 2017, and 2020's iPhone 12, which was delayed to October due to the pandemic).

Here's when the last few models have launched.

  • iPhone 11: 10th September, 2019
  • iPhone 12: 13th October, 2020
  • iPhone 13: 14th September, 2021
  • iPhone 14: 7th September, 2022
  • iPhone 15: 12th September, 2023

The Pro models are always announced alongside the standard non-Pro variants, so we expect to see the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max launch this September.

Narrowing it down is a bit trickier, but not impossible. The last few iPhones have launched in the second week of September, so we would wager the iPhone 16 Pro will arrive sometime the week beginning 9th September 2024. 

iPhone 16 Pro price estimate

Because they offer more power and features, the Pro models are more expensive than the standard iPhone models, usually by £200-£300 / $200-$300. Here's how the current iPhone models compare.

  • iPhone 15: £799 / $799 / AU$1499 (128GB); £899 / $899 / AU$1699 (256GB); £1099 / $1099 / AU$2049 (512GB)
  • iPhone 15 Plus: £899 / $899 / AU$1649 (128GB); £999 / $999 / AU$1849 (256GB); £1199 / $1199 / AU$2199 (512GB)
  • iPhone 15 Pro: £999 / $999 / AU$1849 (128GB); £1099 / $1099 / AU$2049 (256GB); £1299 / $1299 / AU$2399 (512GB); £1499 / $1499 / AU$2749 (1TB)
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: £1199 / $1199 / AU$2199 (256GB); £1399 / $1399 / AU$2549 (512GB); £1599 / $1599 / AU$2899 (1TB)

The big question is: will Apple raise prices? The iPhone 16 Pro models are rumoured to have slightly larger screens than their predecessors, which could increase the pressure on Apple to raise prices. The latest iPad Pro is the first with an OLED screen, and is more expensive than the previous model, so these improvements do cost money.

On the plus side, the iPhone 15 range didn't hike prices, and the Samsung Galaxy S24 (the iPhone's closest rival) has the same starting price as the iPhone 15. We would imagine any price rise for the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max will be modest.

iPhone 16 Pro screen rumours

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max held in landscape in front of a back door with grass and a paved area visible through the glass panes. Ted Lasso from Apple TV+ is on screen.

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Apple TV+, Ted Lasso)

The iPhone 16 Pro models could see one of the biggest screen changes in recent years, according to one rumour. 

Display analyst Ross Young says both models will grow their displays by 0.2 inches compared to their iPhone 15 range equivalents – so the iPhone 16 Pro will go from 6.1 inches to 6.3, and the iPhone 16 Pro Max from 6.7 inches to 6.9. This is backed up by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who is as reliable an Apple source as they come.

An increase of 0.2 inches might not sound like much, but the Pro models have been the same size since they were introduced in the form of the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max in 2020. It would mean the iPhone 16 Pro Max has the biggest iPhone screen ever.

The iPhone 16 and 16 Plus are thought to stay at the same 6.1- and 6.7-inch sizes as their iPhone 15 equivalents. If this rumour is correct, here's how the iPhone 16 range would look (according to Twitter leaker Sonny Dickson).

The iPhone 16 Pro models could be more power efficient, thanks to their screens. One rumour says Samsung Display is developing a new material set especially for use in iPhones. M14 tech reportedly replaces the blue fluorescent technology currently used with blue phosphorescence tech, which makes the screen more power efficient than the LTPO displays on current iPhone Pro models. While Korean publication The Elec doesn't specify which 2024 iPhones will feature the technology, you can bet the premium iPhone Pro models will be among them, should it come to pass.

Their screens could also be brighter thanks to the same Micro Lens Array (MLA) tech as seen in LG's G4 OLED TV. This uses tiny internal lenses to redirect reflections, increasing the brightness (or maintaining the same brightness but using less power to do so, preserving battery life). But this is far from set in stone – Apple is only considering the tech, according to The Elec, and so could decide against it.

What about the new tandem OLED tech that Apple debuted in the OLED iPad Pro? Could the iPhone 16 Pro models offer the same Ultra Retina XDR display, as suggested by Daring Fireball's John Gruber? (This combines the brightness of two OLED panels, delivering 1000 nits of SDR brightness and 1600 nits of peak HDR). The OLED iPhone 15 models already reach brightness levels of around the same as the new iPad Pro, so some think the extra expense wouldn't be worth what would be only a marginal gain in brightness. Having said that, 'marginal gains' has been the byword of new iPhones in recent years, so don't write it off just yet...

One tipster reckons the iPhone 16 Pro will be brighter than the new OLED iPad Pro's screen. A Weibo user calling themselves Instant Digital (via MacRumors) says the iPhone 16 Pro's screen will be 20 per cent brighter than the iPhone 15 Pro and new OLED iPad Pro, with standard SDR brightness of 1200 nits. (That would be the first boost in brightness for the iPhone since the iPhone 13 Pro in 2021.) Peak HDR brightness is thought to remain unchanged at 1600 nits.

Whichever screen tech Apple opts for, the displays have already been greenlit for production, according to one report. The Elec (via MacRumors) reports that both Samsung Display and LG Display have been granted approval for mass production of the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max's OLED screens. Samsung Display is said to be supplying all four models of iPhone 16, while LG Display is thought to be making screens for only the Pro models.

The bigger screen could also impact the phone's dimensions. According to IceUniverse and Instant Digital (both posting on Chinese social network Weibo, via MacRumors), the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be taller, wider and thicker than the 15 Pro Max. The iPhone 16 Pro Max is rumoured to have dimensions of 163.024 x 77.575 x 8.26mm, compared to the 15 Pro Max's 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25mm. It's not a massive increase in any direction, but it would make a big phone even bigger. Its bezels will reportedly be the smallest of any smartphone ever made, though.

iPhone 16 Pro design rumours

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max lying on a wooden table. The homescreen features a wallpaper of a city street scene.

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The iPhone 16 Pro models won't have any physical buttons, according to one rumour. In their place will be capacitive touch buttons that will be more resistant to wear and tear. That's according to Chinese news outlet Economic Daily (via AppleInsider), which reports that Apple has given a semiconductor supplier a large order for capacitive buttons. Though given that the report says that production isn't due to ramp up until just before the iPhone 16 launches, we'd take this one with a pinch of salt.

Other than that, no major design changes have been rumoured.

iPhone 16 Pro camera conjecture

The top half of a blue Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max seen from behind, lying at a slight angle on a wooden table.

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

We could see a better camera on the iPhone 16 Pro, according to respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He reckons the handset will upgrade from the iPhone 15 Pro's 3x optical zoom to the same 5x optical zoom as the iPhone 15 Pro Max (and presumably the iPhone 16 Pro Max too). Though this could make the 16 Pro slightly thicker than the 15 Pro.

And the 16 Pro Max could get an even better upgrade – a new sensor. A leaker on Chinese social media site Weibo (via MacRumors) says it will boast a new Sony IMX903 sensor instead of the iPhone 15 Pro Max's IMX803 – this will reportedly still be 48MP resolution but should have some as-yet-unknown improvements. The iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max's ultra-wide cameras could also upgrade to 48MP from their current 12MP – quite a jump.

iPhone 16 Pro features speculation

A pair of Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro handsets in Black, seen from the front and behind on a white background.

(Image credit: Apple)

A new A18 processor is rumoured for the iPhone 16 range and, as ever, it looks like the Pro models will have a more powerful chip. Analyst Jeff Pu (via MacRumors), reckons the iPhone 16 Pro variants will feature the A18 Bionic Pro, with the non-Pro models running on the standard A18 processor. Pu says the A18 chip will be manufactured with TSMC's 3 nanometer process, and that only power users will see much difference between the performance of the two chips.

Still, this would bring all four iPhone 16 models more into alignment. Currently the Pro and non-Pro iPhones feature different-generation chips (A16 Bionic for the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, A17 Pro for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max), but giving all handsets in the iPhone 16 range the same-generation chip would seemingly take them closer to parity across the family, especially if the difference is as small as Pu claims. Then again, the difference could be bigger, and giving all iPhone 16 handsets the same-generation chip would certainly send a clearer message to consumers.

Artificial intelligence is likely to feature heavily in iOS 18, which is the operating system that will ship with the iPhone 16 range. Mark Gurman predicts that AI will improve "how both Siri and the Messages app can field questions and auto-complete sentences" .

Apple is also reportedly in talks to license Google's Gemini AI technology for use cases like image and text generation. Gemini also powers the AI on Samsung's Galaxy S24, so the two phones could have very similar AI features.

The iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max are expected to keep the Action button, but according to MacRumors, it's also thought to come to the non-Pro models. The Action button is in place of the mute switch, and because it's customisable it can enable the phone's torch, camera and a specific Focus mode, among other use cases. 

We could also see an extra 'Capture' button on the same side as the power button – though at the moment its function is unknown.

At present, the Pro models top out at 1TB, but we could see this increase thanks to a new kind of flash memory. DigiTimes says that Quad-Level Cell (QLC) NAND Flash would be an upgrade on Apple's current Triple-Level Cell (TLC) NAND Flash, as it would allow more storage in a smaller physical space. This would mean either higher-capacity storage options (like 2TB) or cheaper existing capacities. But it could also mean slower read and write speeds – Apple could lessen this by customising it, but that would eat into the savings it would make. We can't see customers putting up with worse performance from a new iPhone, so don't count on slower speeds.

iPhone 16 Pro: our take

Given Apple's track record, only a fool would bet against the iPhone 16 Pro being another stunning smartphone. The rumours back this up, pointing to bigger and brighter screens, more power, more advanced cameras and AI smarts up the wazoo.

But questions remain. The new iPad Pro is pricier than its predecessor (though that's mostly due to the new OLED screen), and if the iPhone 16 Pro follows suit, it could turn off some potential buyers. Then there's the competition. The Samsung Galaxy S24's AI might be a bit hit and miss, but when it works, it's genuinely useful. If Apple doesn't impress with its first implementation of the tech in its flagship smartphone, it could fall behind in what's widely seen as the next front in the smartphone war.

Apple faces competition on other fronts too. The Sony Xperia 1 VI might have jettisoned two of its unique movie-centric features (a 4K resolution and 21:9 aspect ratio), but it still looks like the portable cinema to beat. Apple usually tweaks the movie and music performance of its iPhones (though it invariably fails to advertise the fact), so hopefully the iPhone 16 Pro will be more than a match for Sony's finest.

We'll update this feature as more rumours emerge. Roll on September!

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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.