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iPhone 16 to offer ‘very little’ change compared to iPhone 15, and that’s exactly what I need

Published Jan 3rd, 2024 10:22AM EST
iPhone 15 Screen and USB-C port.
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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You’d better sit down for this: the iPhone 16 will deliver “very little” change compared to the iPhone 15. Shocking! That’s according to a new analysis from Barclays, with the firm tempering its growth estimates for Apple in 2024. It’s not just the iPhone to blame here, with the analysts offering other lackluster predictions for Apple’s new products. 

Then again, any longtime iPhone user should already expect the iPhone 16 to deliver “very little” change compared to last year’s model. I am talking about the base versions, as the Pros will pack additional features, including at least one rather big change that Barclays seems to casually omit. 

As someone who is considering an upgrade from the iPhone 14 Pro to the iPhone 16, very little change is exactly what I need. 

Same prediction, different year

Barclays’ note, seen by 9to5Mac, mentions continued weakness for the iPhone through the launch of the iPhone 16:

Expect continued iPhone weakness through the launch of the iPhone 16. Our checks remain negative on volumes and mix for iPhone 15, and we see no features or upgrades that are likely to make the iPhone 16 more compelling.

Looking at the supply chain for the iPhone, the analysts found that there have been “cuts, sell-through weakness, and a mix shift to base models over higher priced Pro versions.” Furthermore, they say the iPhone 16 will offer “very little feature/function difference compared to the iPhone 15.”

The thing that all of these research notes seem to forget, no matter who pens them, is that we’ve reached a point where there can’t be major upgrades from one year to the next right now. The design sees only a few changes compared to last year’s model.

The chip gets incremental speed and efficiency bumps, and the screen gets brighter. Add camera hardware changes and new software tricks, and you’ve got a brand-new 2024 phone. 

iPhone 15 Pro Display
iPhone 15 Pro Display. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

It’s not just Apple that follows this formula. Rumors say Samsung wants a brand new Galaxy S design starting in 2025, and I said we probably don’t need any of that. Considering how amazing these tiny computers are, we shouldn’t be looking for major upgrades each year. 

That’s another thing. Upgrading from the iPhone 15 to the iPhone 16 makes no sense. The changes will be minimal. But move from an older device, and the difference will be night and day. 

Why the iPhone 16 is exciting to me

As an iPhone 14 Pro owner, I believe I could hold out until the iPhone 17 series. But I do have one reason to upgrade to an iPhone 16: the new Capture button that might change the way I use the phone’s camera. The upgrade will also get me the USB-C port and Action button that I’m yet to experience, given these are iPhone 15 features. 

If I’ll go for an iPhone 16 Pro version, I’m in for a big screen upgrade, tetraprism zoom cameras across the board, and a titanium chassis. These are all big upgrades over the iPhone 14 Pro I currently own. 

Add the new A18 chips, iOS 18 with new AI features, and features specifically tailored for the iPhone 16 phones, and this year’s iPhone generation will be a compelling upgrade. Again, if you move from an older device to the newest one. 

I held on to my iPhone X for five years before getting to the iPhone 14 Pro, and the upgrade was massive. It would have been a mild one had I moved from an iPhone 13 model.

iPhone 15 Pro Max Screen
iPhone 15 Pro Max’s screen. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Apple’s other products

We could be having this conversation every year. You don’t have to change your phone, tablet, computer, TV, car every year. Some of these will work great for several years. 

Will that impact Apple’s bottom line? It might. Will Apple stop making great products, iPhones included? Absolutely not.

Barclays’ note also says that Mac and iPad sales might continue to drop, and Services will see reduced growth in the coming years. Furthermore, the analysts expect overall growth to slow down overall.

“AAPL remains a very strong ecosystem, moving from Mac-driven to iPhone-driven over the last decade,” the analysts wrote. “We believe there is less ecosystem pull-through with new products/services, which will make growth harder over the next several years.”

As a result, Barclays is lowering its Apple stock target from $161 to $160. But if you’re due for an iPhone upgrade, you shouldn’t care about any of that. Either replace your old iPhone with an iPhone 15 right now or wait for the iPhone 16 series that’s dropping in September.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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