Apple may lag behind competitors like Samsung, OnePlus, and Google when it comes to using fast-updating displays for its smartphones. However, a new report claims that this will change as all future iPhones will offer adaptive refresh rates – and not just the iPhone Pro models.
The catch? Apparently that won’t happen until next year with the iPhone 14. By then, if you want an adaptive display on your next iPhone, your choices will likely be limited to that iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max.
That’s the bottom line MacRumors reaches for the latest news from Apple’s supply chain. The theory is based on a report by The Elec, which is researching LG’s efforts to prepare its display manufacturing business for Apple’s future phones.
The report goes into a little bit of the intricacies Low temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) display manufacturing, but the long and short of it is LG puts the pieces in the right places to make the LTPO screens that can dynamically adjust their refresh rate to reflect what you’re using your phone for.
With the ability to manufacture LTPO screens, LG, together with Samsung, could deliver the dynamically adapting OLED panels to Apple. Samsung is said to be making LTPO screens for this year’s iPhone 13, but only enough to add the new feature to the Pro models. A second provider going online in 2022 would allow Apple to extend this feature to its cheaper phones.
Of course, it’s not just a matter of supply. Adding dynamic refresh rates to the displays on its iPhone 13 Pro models would allow Apple to differentiate the two phones from its cheaper phones. This, in turn, could encourage buyers to pay for the iPhone 13 Pro instead of the standard iPhone 13.
Like the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 13 Pro is expected to start at $ 999, with the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini keeping their predecessors’ starting prices of $ 799 and $ 699, respectively.
The MacRumors report notes that the iPhone 14 could differentiate its Pro models by continuing the long-rumored move of getting rid of the iPhone’s signature notch. Apple could continue to add new features to the cameras on its Pro phones, further justifying their higher prices.
What to expect from the iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 14?
Fast-refreshing displays thanks to LTPO panels are one of the big changes expected for the iPhone 13 Pro, which should also see some notable camera enhancements when it debuts this fall. All four new iPhone models are expected to have smaller notches – although the notches do not go away completely – and benefit from a more powerful A15 Bionic processor.
Right now, the biggest change to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini seems to be the addition of LiDAR sensors to support more immersive AR apps and enhance portraiture. The cheaper iPhones could also take on the sensor shift stabilization function that Apple introduced with the iPhone 12 Pro Max last fall.
Will that be enough to spark consumer interest in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini? For some would-be upgrades, lack of a fast refresh rate might not be a deal killer – you can’t be missing out on what you’ve never had before, after all. But for iPhone users who want a feature that goes with that Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 Owners already enjoying, it sounds like they’ll have to pay for an iPhone 13 Pro or wait for the feature to be available on all iPhones in 2022.
While this year’s iPhone 13 line-up is expected to feature the same four models as the iPhone 12, Apple is reportedly set to stir things up for the 2022 iPhones. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that The iPhone 14 will be available in two sizes – 6.1 “and 6.7” – these sizes are available in both standard and pro models.
A more uniform screen size would certainly make it easier for Apple’s display suppliers to mass-produce LTPO panels, though it’s a bit of a shame for iPhone 13 buyers who weren’t planning on looking at the iPhone 13 Pro versions.