Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro may finally come with an always-on display, offering a feature that the best Android phones have been using for years. But the iPhone 14 is doomed to lose.
That’s according to regular and trusted Apple whistleblower and Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, who in his Power On Bulletin (opens in new tab) mentions an excerpt that Apple fans will want to pay attention to.
“I’m told that iOS 16 offers future support for an always-on lock screen, something Apple was originally planning for last year’s iPhone 13,” says Gurman. “This would allow the iPhone to significantly lower the frame rate on the lock screen and display information that is quickly visible – similar to the new Apple Watches.”
This isn’t the first time this has been proposed as a possibility for the 2022 iPhone, and for many the reaction will be “it’s about time”.
The technology (albeit in an initially rudimentary form) has been a part of phones for more than a decade and routinely appears in Android flagships, allowing you to check the time, data and notifications without unlocking the device. The closest the iPhone has is the wake-up elevator, which brings the entire screen to life and, of course, requires contact.
Apple’s solution might be a little gentler on the battery, though. Because Android versions have been around for so long, they’ve been at the mercy of 60Hz displays, while Apple introduced a 120Hz panel with the iPhone 13 Pro, capable of switching between 10Hz and 120Hz.
The low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) panels that Apple plans to use this time are rumored to go even further, allowing the panel to be refreshed once a minute – which would be unbearable for most functionality, but ideal. to update the time and date in a quasi-static display.
But crucially, this will almost certainly be exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models, with the regular versions unable to vary their refresh rates. Gurman says he was told that “the always-on display mode is unique to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models (…)
iPhone 14 Pro: dividing lines
While it’s nice to have an always-on display, few would call it a killer feature – or worth paying the $200 difference between the regular iPhone and the Pro model, anyway.
But we don’t expect this to be the only difference, with earlier Pro versions boasting considerably better camera performance and the benefit of a ‘Max’ sized screen.
While the last difference should be dropped this year (iPhone 12 and 13 variants sold so poorly that Apple will apparently offer the iPhone 14 Max), there will apparently be another big dividing line between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro this time around: speed. .
For the first time, Apple plans to make the new A16 chip exclusive to Pro models and leave the regular iPhone 14 with last year’s A15 processor.
That’s a gamble: if I were ready to buy an iPhone 14 in September and found it contained the same chip as last year, my instinct would be to buy an older iPhone 13 Pro to get the same speed and 120Hz display. If enough people do this, Apple may find that it’s not just the mini that is a disappointment, in terms of sales.