This year we’ve seen a number of phones move on from the standard 60Hz refresh rate to a higher 90Hz one, including the likes of the OnePlus 7T Pro and Google Pixel 4 range, but the iPhone 11 range didn’t make such a move. However, Apple could be planning to skip 90Hz altogether and move straight to 120Hz for the iPhone 12.
That’s according to a DigiTimes report, citing “industry observers.” The report suggests that many of 2020’s phones will have 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rates, but specifically highlights the 2020 iPhone models as examples of the latter.
We would of course take this with a pinch of salt – DigiTimes has a mixed track record and it’s early to be getting iPhone 12 rumors, but it’s a claim that would make sense.
For one thing, Apple is going to want to stay competitive and while only a few mainstream handsets have high refresh rates currently, they’re likely to start becoming more common. This also wouldn’t be an unprecedented move for Apple, as many of the company's iPad Pro models already have a ‘ProMotion’ screen with a 120Hz refresh rate.
The big difference in Apple bringing this refresh rate to its phones is that they mostly have OLED screens, whereas iPad models currently use LCD. Given that OLED is typically considered to be better than LCD, the iPhone 12 could have the best of both worlds.
A higher refresh rate meanwhile can make interactions feel more responsive, for a smoother overall feel when swiping around the interface, though potentially at the cost of battery life.
If Apple does make a 120Hz iPhone 12 it won’t be the first company to make a 120Hz phone – the Asus ROG Phone 2 for example already offers that refresh rate, but the iPhone 12 could be among the first mainstream phones to offer it.