Despite what many fans were expecting, Apple did not release any iPhones with high refresh rate displays at its ‘Hi, Speed’ event on October 13.
The company’s new iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max seem to be great new devices with lots of new features. From more powerful A14 Bionic chips to support for 5G and more, these are, as Apple would say, the best iPhones of all time. And yet they only offer 60Hz displays instead of 120Hz.
Apple’s decision to skip 120Hz is bad. But it’s probably not as bad as you think.
Lots of power for all those extra frames
Apple claims that its new A14 Bionic is the most powerful smartphone processor of all time. The company is probably right – we’ll have to do our own tests to be sure, but it is very likely to take the competition on most metrics. However, there are several Android phones with 90Hz or 120Hz displays that run less powerful 800 and 700 series Snapdragon chips. It’s clearly not a power issue – Apple’s new iPhones are certainly capable of 120Hz.
That argument will probably be one of the main reasons why it’s ridiculous that Apple didn’t include 120Hz displays in any of the iPhone 12 models. On top of that, I’d say the iPhone 12 was the perfect opportunity to make that change. The lower-tier iPhone 12 and 12 mini have sporty OLED displays instead of LCD panels, which eliminates one of the main arguments for going with a Pro model over non-Pro variants. As a way to keep displays differentiated, Apple could have made the Pro 120Hz models.
What is the profit in the first place?
So Apple has the power to run 120Hz. He had a great opportunity to introduce the feature to the iPhone line. But why do people care about high refresh rate displays in the first place? If you haven’t been following the technology closely for the past year, it might not sound like a big deal, it is.
Here is the summary of the high refresh rate screens. The higher the hertz (Hz), the more times a screen is updated per second. Most displays, from computer monitors to tablets to televisions, are 60 Hz, which means they refresh 60 times per second and can therefore display up to 60 frames per second (fps). A 120 Hz screen can display up to 120 fps. That is effectively twice as many soft drinks.
Practically, that translates into the device feeling more responsive. For example, when you scroll through a social media feed, each update redraws the screen and shows you at a slightly different point in your scrolling. Higher refresh rates redraw the screen more frequently and make scrolling animation smoother. It’s a difference that may be hard to imagine, but it’s something more people can feel, especially when switching from one refresh rate to another.
Higher refresh rates should palpably improve almost all touch screen interactions. Gaming? Smoother and more responsive controls. Typing? The keyboard feels much better. Scroll through apps and social networks? Like butter.
Having had the opportunity to test 60, 90 and 120Hz displays in recent months, I find that 90 and 120Hz are much smoother than 60Hz. That being said, I find a minor difference between 90 and 120 Hz, and many people likely won’t notice a difference that goes beyond 120 Hz. However, we are all different and many people won’t notice a difference between 60 and 90 Hz either. .
Taking it all home
The average person looking to get a new iPhone probably won’t notice or care that there isn’t a 120Hz display. But those people are also the people who are likely to go for the regular iPhone 12 or 12 mini, or perhaps take this opportunity to buy an older model at a discount. Customers looking to buy the iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max, on the other hand, will likely notice.
And that is why no 120Hz is a big mistake for Apple, but not as much as everyone thinks. The iPhone 12 Pro is Apple’s first high-end device. It’s the best of everything Apple has to offer: the best and biggest displays, the best cameras, the best battery. It should also be 120Hz, especially when all other flagships at this price offer it.
Sure, there are likely advantages to not having 120Hz. Better battery life, for example, especially considering the addition of 5G. Although Apple appears to have software features to mitigate the impact of the battery, 5G will certainly be a huge drain on power. 120Hz would only make it worse.
Likewise, the 120Hz panels are more expensive than the 60Hz ones, so there will likely be some degree of cost savings here – not that Apple passes it on to customers. And of course, for many iPhone customers, 120Hz won’t be a deal breaker in the end, although some might delay the update in the hopes that the iPhone 13 will offer a 120Hz option.