Young explained via a Tweet that Apple is facing supply chain issues with obtaining 120Hz display driver ICs for the iPhone 12 Pro, even though it can get the correct 120Hz panels. Apple would, therefore, have to postpone the iPhone 12 Pro launch to wait for the correct driver ICs, or ship the iPhone 12 Pro without a 120Hz display. To avoid this delay, Young expects Apple to opt for standard 60Hz displays on the iPhone 12 Pro.
Hearing that Apple can get 120Hz Pro panels, but not 120Hz driver ICs. So they will either have to come up with a fix which will be difficult, wait for 120Hz driver ICs and delay the launch possibly significantly or launch with 60Hz. We are hearing they will launch with 60Hz.
— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) August 24, 2020
Young speculates that the late-stage display issues facing the iPhone 12 Pro may be explained by 120Hz not being part of the original plans for the device. He does, however, propose the possibility of Apple delaying the iPhone 12 Pro launch date until the 120Hz display is ready to ship. It is unclear how long such a delay may be. In July, Apple confirmed that it is expecting to release this year’s iPhones later than usual.
The matter is “not a simple issue in this case,” Young said. “Apple can move mountains, so will see. Given how badly some of you want 120Hz, perhaps they are listening will delay the launch until 120Hz is ready”. Young’s analysis was today largely corroborated by leaker Jon Prosser, who concurs reports of Apple continuing to internally debate the status of the iPhone 12 Pro’s 120Hz display.
“Behind the scenes, Apple is still testing 120Hz, ProMotion, for iPhone 12 Pro. Specifically, at least, in this case with my sources, the 12 Pro Max,” said Prosser via a video on Front Page Tech uploaded today. “120Hz is working just fine, with a manual toggle in settings on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.”
ProMotion technology on the iPad Pro is able to dynamically adjust the display to the movement of content, resulting in more fluid scrolling, smoother motion, and improved responsiveness. The frame rate changes based on the content on the screen, preserving battery life. Prosser encouraged his followers, “don’t give up on 120Hz on 12 Pro yet…”
Reports surrounding a potential 120Hz display have been extremely mixed, with some leakers such as “Ice Universe” and Max Weinbach suggesting that the feature is set to arrive with the iPhone 12 Pro. Prosser has also previously discussed the likelihood of iPhone 12 Pro models sporting ProMotion displays.
In July, Young reported that none of his contacts were able to corroborate rumors that the iPhone 12 Pro models will feature 120Hz displays, with his sources instead indicating 120Hz technology will be coming in the 2021 iPhone refresh. Young has instead suggested that Apple will implement ProMotion in 2021 alongside the adoption of low-power LTPO displays which will allow for a variable refresh rate that preserves battery life.
It is unusual for Apple to be facing uncertainty with major features at such a late stage, with launch expected next month. As a 120Hz display is not an integral design feature of the iPhone 12 Pro, it would likely be easier to roll back plans to include the feature on this fall’s devices.
The uncertainty regarding the refresh rate of the iPhone 12 Pro’s display means that it is extremely difficult to say how things may pan out, but these reports cast serious doubt over the chances of a 120Hz display coming to market on the iPhone 12 Pro this year. At minimum, it appears that Apple is struggling to ship the feature with the iPhone 12 Pro.