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The iPhone 16 could feature big design changes for the first time in many iPhone years

Apple is experimenting with a different camera and button layout, and even considering a dedicated Capture button.
By
December 13, 2023
Apple iPhone 15 All colors
Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • A new report has showcased three different mockups of iPhone 16 pre-production models.
  • For the iPhone 16, Apple has reportedly been exploring designs with an iPhone X-style camera pill, with capacitive and combined volume rockers, a larger Action button, and even a new capacitive Capture button.

The iPhone 15 series just launched a few months back, so it’s time for the leaks to start coming in for the iPhone 16 series. A new report suggests that Apple is exploring multiple design changes, marking a departure from the standard iPhone design that it introduced with the iPhone 12.

Yes, the iPhone 15 series did away with the sharp-edged frame and introduced a slight curve. It is a noticeable and welcome change, but the iPhone 15 series still largely looks like the iPhone 12 series., albeit with USB-C.

With the iPhone 16, MacRumors suggests that Apple could explore a different camera and button layout and even add a camera shutter button to the iPhone!

The report cites access to details on early pre-production designs for the base iPhone 16, internally referred to as “DeLorean.” (Side note, “DeLorean” is the car featured in the famous Back to the Future film, where it is turned into a time machine.) With these details, the report has created mockups of what the iPhone 16 could look like.

The first iPhone rendered in yellow includes a different camera layout, with an enclosure styling similar to what Apple used on the iPhone X. It also features a unified volume rocker and an Action button. The unified volume rocker is said to have been developed as part of the now-canceled Bongo project. It would have provided users with haptic feedback, but it has been scrapped following technical issues.

The second iPhone, rendered in pink, includes an Action button but separates the volume rocker into its own buttons.

The third iPhone, rendered in Midnight Black color, features a bigger Action button and a new Capture button. The Action button is also expected to be capacitive instead of mechanical. This is the design that the report is expecting Apple to go ahead with it.

On the right side profile, we can see the new Capture button. This capacitive button is developed internally under the codename “Project Nova.” This button is said to feature a force sensor in addition to “tact-switching” functionality, though there isn’t further clarity on what exactly this means. The report also does not specify what the button would be used for, but if the name and its positioning are any hint, it could be used as a shutter button for the camera.

Since the Capture button is on the right side, the mmWave antenna for US-centric iPhone models is moved to the left. If there are issues that the company runs into, there is also an alternate hardware configuration without the Capture button that Apple could revert to.

According to the report, the front of the iPhone 16 has no noticeable changes.

The iPhone 16 is still in its early development stages, so there are multiple routes that Apple could take from this point. Still, we hope to see an iPhone that looks different next year.

Would you like a camera shutter button on your next phone?

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