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New iPhone 16 report hints at better battery, but with a catch

The upcoming iPhone 16 will boast a new design and some handy improvements, and the battery life is the latest feature to get some mostly positive news.

iPhone 16 with battery icon next to Pocket Tactics logo

Looking ahead to the next era of phone tech, it can sometimes feel like genuine innovation has hit a dead end. Fresh ideas and genuine, substantial improvements seem to have slowed down, with new models mostly just boasting spec bumps and thinner, more lightweight redesigns. When things are already so refined, Apple is going to have to work exceptionally hard to make the iPhone 16 any different. However, early reports at least indicate that the next-gen device will feature a serious convenience perk through a boost to battery life. That’s an upgrade that’s always welcome.

While the iPhone 16 release date is still a subject of speculation, well-sourced Apple leaker Majin Bu explains on X that the new devices will feature expanded battery capacity… mostly. Revealing how the Pro Max and base model will have 5% and 6% larger batteries than their corresponding predecessors, Bu said, “the new iPhone 16 will have a 3561 mAh battery… and the 16 Pro Max, should be equipped with a 4676 mAh battery that is no longer L-shaped due to the redesign of the internal structure.” In the quest to beat the best Samsung phones, that’s a big deal.

But here’s the catch: Bu explains that the “16 plus should have a 4006 mAh battery,” which is actually a downgrade on the previous model. Given that the 15 Plus became renowned for its battery life, it’s certainly a confusing decision. Here’s the thing, though: we’re months away from the release of the iPhone 16, so all this is very much subject to change as Apple pieces together the latest version of its flagship range. Additionally, phone design is all about compromise. It could be that Apple is accepting that the iPhone 16 Plus will take a hit to its battery life in order to improve its camera through new positioning and placement.

Still, a downgrade is a downgrade, and it takes the attention away from the positive news that the base model and Pro Max should have battery improvements. This not-as-brilliant-as-it-should-be news also coincides with the recent reports on the design of the new model that suggests Apple is reverting back to something closer to previous versions with a blend of characteristics from the 11 and 12. Perhaps this lack of ‘newness’ will impact sales. Or, maybe Apple’s dominance will continue as consumers remain happy to accept the lack of fresh features so long as the brand retains its straightforward, no-nonsense simplicity.

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For more on hardware, check out our list of the best gaming phones, as well as our picks for the best OnePlus phones. If that’s not enough, take a look at our guides to the best mobile games, or see what’s going on with the Nintendo Switch 2.