It looks like 2021 will be the year of advanced phone displays. A new Apple leak provides strong evidence that the iPhone 13 will feature a 120Hz LTPO display with adaptive refresh rate technology, plus a smaller Face ID notch. If true, this will be the iPhone’s first major display upgrade since Apple stuck an OLED display in 2017’s iPhone X.
Evidence of the new 120Hz display comes from Korean website THE ELEC, which announced that Samsung Display is reconfiguring its A3 factory line to produce LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) panels for Apple. Samsung Display will be the sole supplier of these displays, producing about 70,000 panels per month.
Developed by Apple, LTPO is a form of backplane technology for OLED screens. The whole point of this technology is that it allows for dynamic refresh rates, a feature missing from the today’s iPhone LTPS OLED panels. Apple debuted LTPO technology in the Apple Watch, as it helps preserve the wearable’s battery life when its always-on display is enabled.
An alleged photo of the iPhone 13 front glass suggests that Apple could move the iPhone 13’s earpiece to the phone’s top bezel, allowing for a smaller Face ID notch. This leak was provided to MacRumors by iRepair, an electronics repair company in Greece. The source suggests that it may be inaccurate, though it’s backed by claims from Apple experts like Ming-Chi Kuo.
If these leaks leak are true, then the iPhone 13 will likely feature a 120Hz variable refresh rate display, a feature that’s currently exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy S21, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, the recently-announced OnePlus 9 Pro, and a handful of Xiaomi phones. The smaller notch would also bring the iPhone closer to high-end edge-to-edge Android displays, though Apple can’t completely remove the notch, as it houses the iPhone’s Face ID hardware.