Apple’s Big Mistake with the iPhone 16 Series is Focusing TOO MUCH on the Camera

When Jobs took the stage to announce the iPhone back in 2007, he used three terms to describe the revolutionary device – a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device. However, ever since the iPhone 7 introduced a dual-lens main camera system on the phone, the Apple team has sort of obsessed with making sure the iPhone has a great camera first, and phone-adjacent features later. Almost like a handheld camera with an App Store, the iPhones now are just a shadow of what they could be. No foldable technology, no AI-based enhanced features, and not even a damn-near decent voice assistant. In fact, it took Apple YEARS to get 5G to their iPhones. Apple spends nearly 30-40% of each iPhone keynote talking about the camera and screen, and now rumors are indicating that the iPhone 16 will introduce a dedicated ‘capture’ button that lets you click photos like you would with a professional camera. The problem with this is that it’s diluting the very definition of a smartphone… and I feel like it might be deliberate.

Earlier this week, leaks showed a new hardware feature coming to the iPhone – a Capture Button that would sit on the top right corner of your phone if you held it in landscape mode. Surprising as it is, considering Apple has been trying to go buttonless and portless for a while now, the Capture Button seems like an odd addition to a phone. Not a single other smartphone has a camera shutter button. In fact, the de facto position is to turn your volume button into a capture button while the camera is running… so what’s driving Apple to add YET ANOTHER button to their phone, following the addition of the Action Button last year?

Leaked images of iPhone dummies used for case designs

Last month, I pointed out that the iPhone 16 is just going to be one of those boring phones worth missing, and this Capture Button seems to reinforce that fact. Every 3 years, Apple launches a ‘boring’ iPhone with a minor design upgrade just to keep things moving before a radical change and it’s been 2 years since the Dynamic Island, so this is probably Apple’s boring year. But why a Capture Button? Nobody said we needed it, not a single Android competitor has a Capture Button, heck if anything we’d appreciate bringing the 3.5mm audio jack back. So why is Apple going ahead with this hardware change?

There are two ways to look at it. The first is a simpler explanation – Apple’s run out of ideas. This is just one of those years where Apple pushes out something so it can tick that annual release box and make a few sales before something bigger and better in 2025. It’s a theory that holds merit given that the iPhone 8 was the ‘boring’ phone for the iPhone X, the iPhone 13 hardly had any extra features (unless you count Cinematic Mode as a game-changing upgrade) before the iPhone 14 ushered in the Dynamic Island. This basically means it’s business as usual and 2024 is just going to be a boring year for iPhones… but there’s yet another explanation.

Close-up of the purported Capture Button

The second explanation is a little more layered and vague, considering there’s no concrete proof to the fact. The explanation is that Apple’s pretty much resigning the iPhone to its fate – the camera. With the Vision Pro becoming Apple’s new breakthrough device, the iPhone will eventually take second place, quite like the iPod did 12 years ago. There are multiple rumors that Apple’s building a cheaper Vision headset (without the ‘Pro’ title) for the mass market to immerse in spatial computing… and when that happens, the iPhone won’t be anything except for a glorified photography device. It still doesn’t explain why Apple’s adding a Capture Button to their phone, given that people already use the volume button to capture photos… but that’s the vague part, because we really don’t ever know what’s going on inside the heads of Tim Cook and the Apple team until and unless they tell us. But as far as the iPhone 16 goes, I’d recommend you give it a miss unless you were long due for a smartphone upgrade.

Renders by Sarang Sheth