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iPhone 15 reportedly won’t have a 120Hz display or Always-on support

Published Mar 7th, 2023 10:50AM EST
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Front
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The iPhone 15 series should follow the same product launch strategy as the iPhone 14. That’s what most rumors say, at least. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will feature roughly the same specs as the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max will deliver big upgrades.

There is going to be one big difference between the 2022 and 2023 iPhone lineups. All iPhone 15 models will feature the same Dynamic Island design and functionality. But the cheaper models reportedly still won’t get 120Hz OLED panels that enable features like ProMotion and the Always-on display.

A leaker from Korea who has posted unconfirmed iPhone details in the past shared a rumor about the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus on Naver (via MacRumors ):

Apple is said to have already made arrangements to deliver iPhone 15 series display panels to domestic companies, and will soon finalize details and prepare for mass production. What is confirmed here is that only the Pro Series will have a specification that supports LTPO 120 refresh rate, with the basic regular Plus model not having it in its requirements.

The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max feature LTPO panels that support dynamic refresh rates between 1Hz and 120Hz. This lets Apple bring ProMotion support to the iPhone without impacting battery life. The phone knows when to raise the refresh rate, thus optimizing energy consumption. For even better battery life, iPhone users can set the maximum refresh rate to 60Hz.

iPhone 14 Pro Always-on display battery test.
iPhone 14 Pro Always-on display battery test. Image source: PhoneBuff’s YouTube channel

That dynamic refresh rate also enables the Always-on display functionality. With the feature, the screen will refresh at 1Hz while it stays on to show Lock Screen widgets and notifications. The feature still consumes energy, so turning it off will further enhance battery life.

One reason Apple keeps 120Hz panels exclusive to the more expensive Pro models concerns costs. Especially if rumors that the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will be cheaper are accurate.

But, as MacRumors points out, well-known insiders may have already revealed the real reason why Apple can’t equip all iPhone models with 120Hz panels this year.

Chinese display maker BOE will not be able to provide LTPO panels for iPhones until 2024 at the earliest. That’s according to Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been a reliable Apple insider for years. Display analyst Ross Young also noted that production constraints would prevent Apple from using LPTO screens on all 2023 iPhone models.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.