Leaked schematics claiming to showcase Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 have appeared online revealing redesigned camera island with iPhone X-like vertically stacked lenses.
The leak comes by way of Majin Bu, who isn't a Dragon Ball Z character, but is one of Twitter/X's many tech tipsters. Majin Bu's track record is pretty hit-or-miss, and should he have been the only one making these claims, then they may well have landed on deaf ears.
However, word of Apple switching to a vertical camera array for the iPhone 16 has been bubbling for some time, and the revealed schematics appear to be in line with other features expected to arrive with Apple's next mainline smartphone — including the capacitive touch capture button.
The iPhone investigators of MacRumors would later confirm the accuracy of Majin Bu's schematics, citing private sources that backed the new pill-shaped camera island and vertically stacked lens layout.
iPhone 16: From schematic to renders — how it could look
The result is something that looks very familiar to those who may have owned 2017's iPhone X. The tenth-generation of Apple's iPhone also featured a vertically stacked camera array in a pill shaped camera island, something maintained until the iPhone 13's larger camera sensors forced the engineers and designers of Cupertino to adopt a diagonal array.
So, why are Apple reverting back to the older layout? It's likely that the Vision Pro has a lot to do with this, as the two lenses found on the iPhone 16 will be able to capture spatial video by shooting simultaneously. However, in order to do this, both lenses would need to be parallel with one another.
Spatial video recording was also one of the reasons that the iPhone 15 Pro Max switched the positions of its telephoto and ultra wide lenses, ensuring the main and ultra wide lens could set next to one another and capture side-by-side 3D video.
When it comes to the iPhone, Apple has become either one of two things depending on how favorable you are towards the design of the iPhone 12 Pro: Predictable or reliable.
While its sturdy aerospace-grade aluminum frame, frosted glass rear panel, and elevated camera island are enough for some, many has been hoping for Apple to finally show some ambition with regards to giving the iPhone a fresh new look.
Apple's phone can look so similar that some users have even been left wondering which iPhone they actually own, with Google searches for "Which iPhone do I have?" being a recurring trend in recent years. (Settings > General > About, by the way, you're welcome.)
This 'new' look for the iPhone 16 could go some way to diminishing the confusion among iPhone users, carving out a more unique identity for the iPhone 16 and potentially opening the doors for Apple's engineers and designers to keep venturing from the path long beaten by the iPhone 12 and 13.
While the apparent changes arriving with the iPhone 16 are welcome ones that hopefully differentiate the device from previous models, it's less of something all-new, and more a case of Apple rehashing a design from yesteryear.
That being said, based on our own renders of the device from the leaked schematics, it doesn't actually look all that bad, although the isolated flash does look a little awkward when placed next to the camera island.
It's worth noting that this design is seen as a prototype, and things could still change. It's entirely possible that the information is also outdated or not as accurate as our tipsters believe it to be.
However, with the Vision Pro establishing itself as a part of the Apple Ecosystem, it makes perfect sense for Apple to outfit its smartphones with everything needed to capture spatial video, to make one of the key selling points of its premium headset (spatial video playback in immersive 3D) even more appealing.
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Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.