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What we want to see from the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro

This September, you can expect Apple to unveil its new iPhone line, seeking to wow the masses with the latest upgrades. New and more powerful chips are a given, and we may see the standard iPhone 16 gain a significant power bump to make it fit for Apple Intelligence.

Here’s what else we hope will be revealed.

No change for the sake of it

A side profile of iPad Pro showing its thinness.

The new iPad Pro is very thin. But it’s also large enough that this doesn’t impact on battery life. The same wouldn’t be true for iPhone.

Apple’s long-time obsession with ‘thin’ returned in an iPad that’s Apple’s thinnest device ever. We hope Apple doesn’t bring similar thinking to iPhone. A smartphone needs to maximize battery life, not compromise it to shave off a few millimeters.

In fact, we’d be happy if Apple stuck with 2023’s design for another year. This would align better with Apple’s environmental commitments, because you wouldn’t need to upgrade form-fitting accessories like cases. And if Apple didn’t adjust the display itself, developers would have an easier ride too, rather than having to update apps for yet another minor screen size change.

Share the Pro love

iPhone with Action button

We’d like to see the Action button come to the rest of the iPhone line.

The iPhone line has settled into flagships (Pro) and standard models, the latter of which in many cases make do with older technology. This is how Apple differentiates its devices. After all, there would be little incentive for people to pay more money for an iPhone Pro if the only difference was a faster chip.

However, it’s time smoother 120Hz displays (ProMotion) were standard across the line. Far cheaper Android devices have this kind of thing, and Apple’s phones are starting to suffer by comparison. We’d also like to see the Action button no longer be a ‘Pro’ feature, because it’s a great way for anyone to be able to customize a device.

Push the boundaries

The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max in the natural titanium finish.

The iPhone Pro camera system is already superb. But Apple can make it even better.

If Apple does choose to bring more existing iPhone Pro features to the standard iPhone, it will need to differentiate the flagship models in other ways. The most obvious would be to continue improving the camera system. The 5x optical zoom on the Pro Max could make its way to the iPhone Pro, while the Max could go higher.

Elsewhere, while there are arguably already too many Apple Pencils, an official one for iPhone that affords artists precision and control would be welcome. We’d also like to see reverse wireless charging, meaning you could use your iPhone to top up your AirPods, or even another phone.

Invest in the wider ecosystem

The new iPhone SE in (PRODUCT)RED, starlight, and midnight.

It’s powerful enough, but the iPhone SE looks like a blast from the past.

The iPhone may be the star of Apple’s September events, but it’s not the only act. We’d like to see – at a minimum – updates to the following:

iPhone SE: The (relatively) budget-friendly option is powerful but looks like a relic with its chunky bezels and Home button. It needs a refresh – although it’s unlikely to happen alongside the iPhone 16. After all, Apple would initially prefer to point everyone at newer and pricier iPhones.

Apple TV: This device barely received a mention at WWDC24, leaving us wondering if it remains on Apple’s radar. Whether an upgrade just knocks down the price of its TV box or transforms it into a powerhouse for gamers, we’d like to see Apple decide the role – or roles – it wants it to play.

Apple Watch: Apple might reason that the Series 10 (or Series X) signals time for change. But a rumored new strap system would clash with Apple’s sustainability objectives unless there was backwards compatibility. And a thinner design would come at the cost of battery life, which trails some competitors. So our wish-list is… maybe just give Series 9 another year?

That and several other thoughts might make this wishlist seem tame. However, while a foldable iPhone or impossible thin Apple Watch would grab headlines, we’d prefer Apple to prioritize the user experience over gimmickry and thinness. And when the foundations are as strong as they are, ‘more of the same but better’ is the right path to take – even if commentators and the Apple faithful might grumble at the lack of surprises.