The two premium “Pro” models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.
According to today’s paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO OLED panels for Apple’s upcoming iPhone. The complete conversion of production from LTPS displays to LTPO will likely be completed in the first half of 2021.
Even with the handover to LTPO production completed in the first half of the year, capacity will be lower than previously due to added steps in the development process.
Samsung Display and LG Display, now offering LTPS OLED displays for iPhones, are proceeding with capacity conversion to LTPO ones at their Apple-dedicated 6G OLED lines, with the conversion likely to be completed in the first half of 2021, the sources said, adding that production capacity will drop due to the added oxide step when LTPS is converted to LTPO.
Alongside Samsung and LG Displays, Apple is looking to add Chinese display maker BOE to its list of suppliers for LTPO displays for the iPhone 13, despite having repeatedly failed quality control tests. BOE is reportedly testing LTPO panels at a new “Apple-dedicated” section at one of its plants in China. The report notes that BOE “got the go-ahead from Apple to supply OLED panels in December 2020.”
Last year, Apple was widely expected to adopt LTPO displays in its 2020 iPhones, giving them the 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate. Despite an avalanche of reports, display analyst Ross Young accurately predicted in July of last year that it would not debut in the iPhone 12 lineup, but instead predicts 120Hz on the 2021 iPhones.
A plausible hurdle Apple may be facing is the increased power consumption that a higher refresh rate presents. On that front, DigiTimes reports that the iPhone 13 Pro models will feature 15-20% reduced power consumption even with the newer displays. While not mentioned in the report, the improved power efficiency is likely thanks to the upcoming A15 chip that will power the new handsets.
Apple first debuted ProMotion in its 2017 iPad Pro, and it has since expanded to the Apple Watch, but not yet to the iPhone. The higher 120Hz refresh rate compared to the current 60Hz offers a smoother experience when scrolling and gaming.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also believes that the upcoming iPhone 13 Pro models will feature higher refresh rate displays. Leaker Max Weinbach believes that on top of a 120Hz refresh rate, the 2021 iPhones handsets will feature always-on displays.