According to the knowledge of someone running an internal seed of iOS 16, a report from iPhonesoft claims that Apple will drop support for older iPhones, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and the first-gen iPhone SE. Simultaneously, iPadOS 16 would stop supporting the iPad mini 4, iPad Air 2, fifth-generation iPad, and the 2015 iPad Pro variants. This means that iPhones running Apple’s A10 Bionic or newer chips would be compatible.
This rumor holds water because the publication correctly predicted the device matrix for iOS 13 and iOS 14 in the past. However, until Apple announces iOS 16 at the upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference next year, nothing can be said for sure. Last year, it claimed that the iPhone 6s and original iPhone SE would not be supported by iOS 15, but the update supported the same devices that iOS 14 did.
iOS 15 was an incremental upgrade over iOS 14 and did not pack game-changing feature updates, which is why it could run on the same set of devices that iOS 14 supported. However, with iOS 16, things could take a turn for the better. The upcoming version of iOS could pack significant changes, bring new features, and improve the user experience.
Moreover, the iPhone 6s and original iPhone SE have seen a respectable six years (or more) of software updates, which is much more than the average Android phone that gets just three to four years of updates. Moreover, speed tests show that older iPhones are beginning to show their age and struggle to deliver a smooth user experience.
So, if iOS 16 could pack significant improvements, it would be wise to drop support for older iPhones. The same also holds good for the aforementioned older iPad modes that are rumored to be incompatible with iPadOS 16. That said, Apple has promised to provide security updates to users who choose to stick with iOS 14 instead of updating to iOS 15 and newer versions.
Reiterating what we mentioned initially, although the rumor comes from a credible source, it is still early to be sure about which devices iOS 16 will support. We should get more clarity in the spring.