The iPhone 16 Pro May Get Polished Titanium

iPhone 16 concept 1 Credit: ConceptsiPhone
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In addition to new shades of titanium, the iPhone 16 Pro may shift the design from the brushed matte look of the iPhone 15 Pro lineup to a glossier polished titanium finish.

For several years before last year’s big switch to titanium, iPhone Pro models relied on a stainless steel frame that always had a highly reflective metallic sheen to it. When Apple went with a titanium frame for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, it changed things up to matte.

It’s unclear whether that decision was made simply to highlight the new material or if there was some metallurgical reason that Apple couldn’t make it shinier. Still, many folks weren’t impressed by the duller design after years of polished stainless steel.

Nevertheless, the brushed titanium has the advantage of not only being lighter but also more resistant to fingerprints. It also doesn’t show scratches nearly as much since they tend to blend in with the brushed texture.

However, it looks like Apple may be looking to make a return to the higher-gloss frame with this year’s iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max. A new report from leaks aggregator yeux1122 says that Apple is adopting “improved titanium processing” that could lead to a more polished material.

If the report is accurate, Apple’s new processes will allow it to retain the scratch resistance of the brushed titanium frame, although there’s no word on how well it will hold up against smudges and fingerprints.

The most significant benefit of titanium is that it offers even more tensile strength than stainless steel with significantly less weight. Apple also didn’t skimp on the materials here, as it adopted a Grade 5 titanium alloy that it boasts is the same stuff used on the Mars rover.

Wonderlust iPhone 15 Pro 21

In practical terms, the switch to titanium allowed the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max to shed 19 grams over their respective predecessors, putting the larger 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max on par with the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro in weight. Similarly, the iPhone 15 Pro weighs about the same as the aluminum iPhone 15.

The titanium frame also promises better heat dissipation than stainless steel. Although some folks are skeptical about that claim after early reports of iPhone 15 Pro models getting too hot to handle, the flip side of that argument is that it was the titanium that was drawing more heat out from the internals of the phone. In the end, the heat turned out to be a software issue that Apple patched that had nothing to do with the materials being used.

The report from yeux1122 also notes that Apple has a method for improved color processing, which may be related to the reports we’ve heard about a possible comeback of rose gold in a “Rose Titanium” finish. As it stands now, the iPhone 15 Pro lineup has a rather dull array of colors, with Blue Titanium being the only one among them with any real personality. Natural Titanium replaced the gold color found in the iPhone 14 Pro. While we assumed that was another bold attempt to emphasize Apple’s switch to titanium, it’s also possible Apple couldn’t get any other colors working with the new materials — at least not to its relatively high standards.

Colors that have been bandied around in recent rumors include the aforementioned “Rose Titanium,” as well as a “Cement Gray” and “Desert Yellow,” which could also be dubbed “Titanium Gray” and “Desert Titanium” if Apple chooses to keep its metal-focused branding for those names.

Notably, the Titanium Gray was said to have a more metallic sheen than the current matte iPhone 15 Pro, which aligns with this report that Apple is working on moving to polished titanium frames.

As usual, it’s essential to take these reports with a very healthy amount of skepticism — even more so than most rumors. While reports of underlying technologies like the new Capture button are usually at least partially accurate, they usually have a lot more evidence. When it comes to colors, even Apple may not have decided which direction it will go in at this point, as these don’t need to be decided until the iPhone is ready to enter production. Hearing about new colors this early in the year isn’t unusual, but hearing about them accurately is.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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