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Apple will take full advantage of LTPO always-on display technology iPhone line with the iPhone 17, claims an analyst.
Variable refresh rates enable features such as an always-on screen or ProMotion, and Apple has reserved these features for the professional iPhone models so far. Analyst posts on Tuesday now indicate that a change could be on the horizon.
According to David Naranjo of Display Supply Chain Consultants, “LTPO Penetration [in smartphones] increased from 10% in 2021 to 23% in 2022.”
“The increase in LTPO is a result of strong demand for higher refresh rates and always on lower power displays,” he continued. “Apple adopted its first LTPO smartphones in 2021 on the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max… By 2025, DSCC expects all iPhone 17 models from Apple to use LTPO panels as LTPO capacity continues to rise and costs fall .”
What is LTPO?
Low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) is a backplane technology that allows a display to dramatically and dynamically change its refresh rate. It also does this without the need for additional hardware components between the graphics controller and the GPU.
The lack of additional hardware means there are fewer components powering the screen, reducing power requirements and extending battery life for the hardware.
The technology is used to power Apple’s ProMotion display system, which can change from a refresh rate of just 10 Hz to a high of 120 Hz during use, or 1 Hz for the always-on screen on iPhone 14 Pro. It’s also what enables the Apple Watch to achieve refresh rates as low as 1 Hz on the Apple Watch Series 5 and above.
A low refresh rate can be used when nothing is changing on the screen, minimizing power consumption. While for drawing with a stylus or for games, a refresh rate of 120 Hz may be more beneficial to users.
LTPO technology was introduced in iPhone to enable the ProMotion feature in iPhone 13 Pro, and later it enabled the lower refresh rate required for the always-on screen. Bringing LTPO to retail iPhones doesn’t guarantee ProMotion will come to those devices as well, but it does mean Apple will likely include the “always-on display” feature in all models.
Apple has so far reserved ProMotion for pro devices such as the iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, and iPhone Pro. It does not seem likely that ProMotion will find its way to cheaper devices.
There are also uses for LTPO other than the always-on display. For example, users watching video recorded at 24 Hz can enjoy that content in its native frame rate.
The iPhone 17 series will be released in 2025.
The Display Supply Chain Consultants, led by Ross Young, have an extremely solid reputation for not only extracting data from Apple’s supply chain, but also discerning the company’s plans and timelines.