Leaked iPhone 16 ‘prototypes’ point to possible return of vertical camera layout

Macworld

There’s still a good nine months to go until Apple unveils its next iPhone in late 2024, but a new leak claims to have disclosed the design of the upcoming handsets. And one surprising change will reportedly take the device back to a style Apple last used in 2020.

For the past three generations–the iPhones 13, 14, and 15–Apple’s non-Pro phones have featured a pair of rear camera lenses in a diagonal configuration. It’s never been entirely clear why they are arranged in this way, or why Apple has twice elected to switch the design, having used a horizontal configuration on the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus and a vertical one from the iPhone X to the iPhone 12. But whatever the reasoning*, it looks like we’re headed for another change.

Citing anonymous sources, the industry news site MacRumors has published an exhaustive leak of Apple’s current design plans for the iPhone 16. And one of the leak’s revelations is that the company intends to give its next iPhone vertically aligned rear camera lenses, very much like the iPhone 12.

MacRumors is at pains to stress that, this far from launch, plans remain fluid. Partly because this gives the site an out if the plans turn out differently, but also to explain why Apple is apparently pursuing multiple variant designs. These are shown in mockup images which the site claims correspond closely to prototypes that Apple’s engineers have created. One unresolved dilemma, for example, is whether to have the two separate lenses above each other in the same style as the iPhone 12 (albeit still within a larger squircle bump) or to combine them into a single lozenge/pill like on the iPhone XS.

The vertical lenses are the most immediately obvious design change coming in the 16-generation iPhones, but they’re not the only one. MacRumors says Apple also plans to revamp the hardware buttons. The haptic-enabled unified volume button, which was developed for the iPhone 15 Pro but eventually canceled, still isn’t going to happen on the iPhone 16. But we are getting two new capacitive buttons: the Action button, which did make it into the 15 Pro but will be standardized across the range in 2024, and a completely new Capture button with an unknown purpose, which appears in only some of the prototypes and may not make the final design.

As MacRumors says, these are early prototypes and may not match the eventual shipped product. To keep up with the latest news and rumors, check our regularly updated iPhone 16 superguide.

*The most widely accepted explanation is that Apple needed room to fit in extra or larger sensors and that diagonal is best for this purpose. But that doesn’t explain why the company doesn’t need to do this anymore… unless you buy the second solution to the riddle, which is that Apple simply likes to create visual differences between generations of iPhone so everyone knows if you’ve bought the new model.

iPhone

​Macworld Macworld

There’s still a good nine months to go until Apple unveils its next iPhone in late 2024, but a new leak claims to have disclosed the design of the upcoming handsets. And one surprising change will reportedly take the device back to a style Apple last used in 2020.

For the past three generations–the iPhones 13, 14, and 15–Apple’s non-Pro phones have featured a pair of rear camera lenses in a diagonal configuration. It’s never been entirely clear why they are arranged in this way, or why Apple has twice elected to switch the design, having used a horizontal configuration on the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus and a vertical one from the iPhone X to the iPhone 12. But whatever the reasoning*, it looks like we’re headed for another change.

Citing anonymous sources, the industry news site MacRumors has published an exhaustive leak of Apple’s current design plans for the iPhone 16. And one of the leak’s revelations is that the company intends to give its next iPhone vertically aligned rear camera lenses, very much like the iPhone 12.

MacRumors is at pains to stress that, this far from launch, plans remain fluid. Partly because this gives the site an out if the plans turn out differently, but also to explain why Apple is apparently pursuing multiple variant designs. These are shown in mockup images which the site claims correspond closely to prototypes that Apple’s engineers have created. One unresolved dilemma, for example, is whether to have the two separate lenses above each other in the same style as the iPhone 12 (albeit still within a larger squircle bump) or to combine them into a single lozenge/pill like on the iPhone XS.

The vertical lenses are the most immediately obvious design change coming in the 16-generation iPhones, but they’re not the only one. MacRumors says Apple also plans to revamp the hardware buttons. The haptic-enabled unified volume button, which was developed for the iPhone 15 Pro but eventually canceled, still isn’t going to happen on the iPhone 16. But we are getting two new capacitive buttons: the Action button, which did make it into the 15 Pro but will be standardized across the range in 2024, and a completely new Capture button with an unknown purpose, which appears in only some of the prototypes and may not make the final design.

As MacRumors says, these are early prototypes and may not match the eventual shipped product. To keep up with the latest news and rumors, check our regularly updated iPhone 16 superguide.

*The most widely accepted explanation is that Apple needed room to fit in extra or larger sensors and that diagonal is best for this purpose. But that doesn’t explain why the company doesn’t need to do this anymore… unless you buy the second solution to the riddle, which is that Apple simply likes to create visual differences between generations of iPhone so everyone knows if you’ve bought the new model.

iPhone 

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