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Apple is working on a massive iPhone display upgrade, and this is proof

Published May 4th, 2021 9:00AM EDT
iPhone Display
Image: kite_rin/Adobe

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With the iPhone almost 14 years old at this point, it’s only natural to wonder what type of innovations Apple will bring to its iconic smartphone in the future. And while faster processors and improved camera technologies are all but guaranteed — and exciting in their own right — there’s a good chance we might also see Apple try and take the iPhone display to the next level.

According to a patent filing noticed earlier this year by Patently Apple, Apple has been working on display technology that would enable future iPhone models to dynamically switch between 60Hz, 120Hz, 180hz, and 240hz refresh rates. The end result would be markedly improved scrolling, better responsiveness, and “smoother motion content.”

Notably, Apple has at least two patents that center on 240hz display technology. The most recent one is titled “Systems and methods for in-frame sensing and adaptive sensing control” and reads in part:

In addition to enabling user inputs, the electronic display may include a display panel with one or more display pixels. As described above, the electronic display may control light emission from the display pixels to present visual representations of information, such as a graphical user interface (GUI) of an operating system, an application interface, a still image, or video content, by display image frames based at least in part on corresponding image data.

In some embodiments, the electronic display may be a display using light-emitting diodes (LED display), a self-emissive display, such as an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, or the like. Additionally, in some embodiments, the electronic display may refresh display of an image and/or an image frame, for example, at 60 Hz (corresponding to refreshing 60 frames per second), 120 Hz (corresponding to refreshing 120 frames per second), and/or 240 Hz (corresponding to refreshing 240 frames per second).

The patents shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given reports that Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro models will feature a 120Hz ProMotion display capable of dynamically switching between 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rates depending on the use-case scenario to maintain battery life. While reports of an iPhone with a 120Hz ProMotion display have persisted for quite some time, there’s a strong chance we’ll finally see it happen once Apple rolls out its iPhone 13 lineup this coming September.

As to when we might see an iPhone model with a 240Hz display, well, that remains unclear. Given how long it’s taken Apple to roll out its 120Hz ProMotion display on the iPhone, it stands to reason that the company is in no rush to up the ante so quickly.

We’ll know for sure what type of display improvements the iPhone 13 introduces this coming September when Apple unveils its 2021 iPhone lineup. According to reports, some non-display features we can look forward to include an always-on display, improved camera performance, and support for Portrait mode while filming video.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.