New Apple Exclusive Reveals iPhone 15 Design Shock


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03/12 Update below. This post was originally published on March 9

Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro models will be faster, curvier and more expensive. The price increase is likely to push more buyers to the standard iPhone 15 models, but they are in for a shock.

According to a new leak from (historically reliable) insider yeux1122, Apple will break with industry trends and again make its ProMotion 120Hz displays, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max exclusives. This would be the third year in succession that Apple has limited high refresh rate (HRR) panels to its most expensive iPhones, and it is increasingly unjustifiable.

The value of a high refresh rate display is that by refreshing up to twice as often as a standard 60Hz panel, animations become smoother, resulting in a more fluid experience. It can also make touch input feel more responsive, despite no changes to the touch sampling rate.

Moreover, high refresh rates have quickly become mainstream, with the likes of Samsung’s $299 Galaxy M33 and RealMe’s $199 Narzo 50 even bringing 120Hz displays to the budget sector. So why is Apple continuing to limit its 120Hz ‘ProMotion’ displays to $1,000 iPhones? It comes down to two factors: implementation and marketing.

In terms of implementation, Apple only uses LTPO panels for ProMotion. This is because operating at 120Hz quickly drains battery life on standard screens, which cheaper 120Hz phones use. In contrast, LTPO panels offer a variable refresh rate, which can drop as low as 1Hz when the screen is static, to reduce battery consumption.

Does this mean all cheap 120Hz phones have terrible battery life? No. Some just fit bigger batteries, but Apple prefers its premium implementation. Apple also only offers its always-on display on iPhones with LTPO panels, so iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models again look set to miss out on this basic feature for another year.

As for marketing, it is a problem of Apple’s own making. Currently, ProMotion is only used for Pro-branded products: Macbook Pro, iPad Pro and iPhone Pro. So anything short of rebranding ProMotion…