Apple is quite reluctant to make drastic changes to its devices. Over the years we have seen one iPhone after another but with enough changes to make it seem different from its predecessor but nothing so out of the box. While the upgrades are high-end, there are a few that the Silicon Valley Company refused to make until now.
We heard a year ago that Apple would catch up to Android phones by launching a high-refresh-rate ProMotion display. Apple has officially announced ProMotion for its iPhone 13 Pro variants.
New Refresh Rate
Apple specifies a 10Hz-120Hz dynamic refresh range in the press release for the new iPhone 13 Pro models’ screen, which is exactly what Samsung sells off the shelf. When you consider that the OnePlus 9 Pro panel rarely, if ever, drops below 1Hz, or even 10Hz, this may appear to be a sloppy approach.
Depending on the content displayed, it was either 60Hz or 120Hz for the majority of the time we tested, with just minor dips during video playback. Apple, on the other hand, demonstrates how its iPhone 13 Pro/Max display controller controls the refresh rate, which ranges from 10Hz to 120Hz.
Apple has added its flair to the screens which are that the display refresh rate is constantly adjusted while you touch it. Swipe to the next photo, for example, and the display quickly ramps up to 120Hz to make the transitional animation look as smooth as possible, then appears to throttle the refresh down to 80Hz/60Hz/30Hz, and eventually to 10Hz while you’re just looking at the photo without doing anything. Ideally, users will be able to seamlessly carry out functions such as SMS Share.
This helps reduce the otherwise high power demand of high refresh rate displays, although it’s something that all such panels on Android phones do to some level already, and it’s still unclear whether the iPhone 13 Pro dynamic refresh works like that in practice.
Can we expect a 120Hz display in future devices?
One of the reasons the iPhone 13 hasn’t opted for the 120Hz refresh rate is that its rather outdated 60Hz LTPS OLED display, as well as the 5.4″ panel in the 13 mini, are reportedly made by LG rather than Samsung. Last year, Apple finally managed to diversify its OLED screen suppliers by tasked LG with producing the iPhone 12 display, and this year it has ordered up to 50 million panels from LG.
The main issue is that LG doesn’t create LTPO displays in sizes larger than those for the Apple Watch, it can’t craft panels that will refresh 120 times per second and won’t kill the battery, especially in the case of the 13 mini, whose predecessor’s battery life is already fairly bad. In the future, Apple may have two vendors capable of producing current 120Hz LTPO panels in time for the iPhone 14 series, when all models, not just the more expensive Pro variants, will have high refresh rate displays.