Apple has already developed various screen technologies such as True Tone and Haptic Touch , but there is also a technique called ProMotion . ProMotion is the name Apple uses for screens with a high refresh rate. Currently this is available on the most expensive iPads, but there are also reports of it coming to the iPhone . But what’s the point here? What are the benefits of a ProMotion display?
What does “Refresh rate” mean
For devices with a display, the image is refreshed at a certain frequency. The pixels change at a certain speed of display. The higher this refresh rate, the quieter it is for your eyes and the smoother the image moves. You will notice this, for example, when scrolling, where all animations appear smoothly.
The refresh rate is indicated in Hertz (Hz). A standard iPhone with LCD screen has a refresh rate of 60 Hz. This number indicates how often the screen can be refreshed within a second. In general, this ensures smooth images, but there is always room for improvement.
ProMotion in iPads, what is it?
This is where ProMotion comes into play. This screen technology provides a refresh rate of 120 Hz, so that a ProMotion screen can be refreshed twice as often as a normal 60 Hz screen. ProMotion is the name that Apple gave to such a screen with a high refresh rate. The amount of hertz is related to the term frames per second (FPS). This indicates how fast the screen can be refreshed, while frames per second is a property of the content itself (for example a movie). This again depends on whether the processor can handle this. A processor can deliver faster images than the screen can handle in practice.
Which iPhones and iPads have ProMotion?
ProMotion is only available on the iPad at the time of writing. It concerns the following models:
- iPad Pro 2017 (10.5-inch and 12.9-inch)
- iPad Pro 2018 (11-inch and 12.9-inch)
- iPad Pro 2020 (11-inch and 12.9-inch)
ProMotion in iPhones: when is it coming?
This screen technology is not yet available on the iPhone, but it is expected that this screen technology with 120 Hz will eventually come to the iPhone. Sources and experts disagree when that will happen. There are rumors that the iPhone 12 will get ProMotion with 120Hz refresh. But at the same time, the support of ProMotion would be related to the support of the LTPO display technology. Apple wouldn’t start using this until 2021, leading some experts to believe we won’t be getting ProMotion in the iPhone at all this year.
What is the use of ProMotion in iPads?
A ProMotion iPad screen is refreshed twice as fast with 120 Hz as a regular LCD screen, but what good is that in practice? As soon as you use such a screen, you will notice that animations are smoother. Scrolling is smoother and you can also play games on the screen without any glitches. The ProMotion screen also comes in handy when using the Apple Pencil.
The Apple Pencil can transmit images with great accuracy. This drawing pen sends data at 240 Hz, but the screen of a standard iPad can only handle a refresh rate of 60 Hz. With the ProMotion screen in suitable models, pen strokes with the Apple Pencil are much more accurate. This means that a stroke on the screen follows the tip of the Apple Pencil much more accurately and that there is much less delay. Drawing with your Apple Pencil is therefore more realistic and looks more like a regular pencil, although it still works fine on a 60 Hz screen. The video below shows the difference between the 120 Hz screen and the 60 Hz screen.
A ProMotion screen adapts to the images that are displayed. For example, films are offered with a lower frame rate. As soon as you play a movie, the screen adjusts accordingly. This ensures that films and series also look very smooth and you can watch undisturbed.
ProMotion and augmented reality
The ProMotion screen may also come in handy with augmented reality. Augmented reality is the addition of virtual objects to the real environment, via the screen of your iPhone or iPad, for example. In order for augmented reality applications to look realistic, the screen must be refreshed often. Apple has also made its own developer tool ARKit available for augmented reality , which makes it easy for developers to add augmented reality to their apps. A higher refresh rate is also useful for virtual reality, so that all images are displayed more smoothly.
Does ProMotion drain your battery?
Although the ProMotion screen is refreshed more often, this has no negative impact on the battery . The screen will only jump to the higher refresh rate when it is being operated, not if the screen is showing static content. This ensures that the screen does not consume excessive power, so you maintain the same battery life as with a 60 Hz screen.
Still, there are concerns about battery life on iPhones when using a ProMotion screen. You use an iPhone in a different way than an iPad . You scroll more and look at a still screen for much less time. Apple itself could give you the choice to enable or disable ProMotion like some phone manufacturers do, but we don’t think Apple will choose this. That’s why Apple would like to wait for the energy-efficient LTPO display, where the refresh rate can be variable to save battery .