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Digitimes: iPhone 2020 with high-frequency 120Hz “ProMotion” display

New supply chain rumours seem to confirm earlier reports that Apple will add a high-frequency ProMotion display to the iPhone 2020 range.

As the iPhone 11 season continues, the rumours begin to gather information on the iPhone 2020 specifications. Many expect significant changes in design after three years of the same iPhone X series case, perhaps with a design reminiscent of the iPhone 4.

Digitimes reports that next year’s iPhone will feature a 120Hz  ProMotion screen in the iPad Pro-style, except that the iPhone will use a high-frequency OLED update panel while the iPad is LCD. All current iPhones include 60 Hz displays.

Apple introduced 120Hz screens for the first time in 2017 with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. A higher refresh rate can improve device responsiveness. However, ProMotion is significant not only for its speed but also for the way that speed is used.

ProMotion intelligently accelerates specific areas of a display rather than the entire screen. On iPad Pro, if a user is drawing with the Apple Pencil in the corner of the display, that section will get a higher refresh rate.

The rest of the display can stay at the normal 60Hz speed or it can even slow down to just 24Hz for areas like toolbars or website headers that are static. This means that the display offers greater speed where it is more useful for the user and at the same time reduces the amount of energy needed to provide this function.

On current phones, the 60Hz display cannot uniformly display all the frames of a 24 FPS video since 60/24 is a fractional result. This means that the phone must repeat the frames or interpolate the artificial frames to compensate for the difference.

However, since 24 is entirely divided into 120, each frame of a 24 FPS video can be shown on a ProMotion screen, resulting in a smoother video viewing experience.

At the moment, it is not clear which specific advantage the iPhone would derive from a 120Hz display. An entire display that updates faster has a higher battery consumption due not only to the needs of the screen but also to the extra work that the GPU on the processor had to do.

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