Android users have been benefiting from always-on displays for years now. The tech was introduced when OLED became the dominant display technology for mobile phones. OLED ushered in the age of self-lit LED lights meaning devices could turn off everything else around the time and other notifications to preserve battery life while also leaving on certain parts of the display. In a nutshell, always-on does mean “always-on” because the display always shows you something important. However, the new Apple iPhone 14 Pro range is changing always-on by incorporating completely different tech to everything we have seen up to now.
In many ways, Apple’s implementation of always-on is much better than what we have seen up to now. You see, while other phones turn off the majority of the display to show only the most important stuff, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro max keeps the entire display on. The displays are just a lot dimmer than what you usually see when using your phone but you’ll see everything including your wallpaper, icons and more.
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So how is this possible? For the most part, the technology works the same as Android phones but Apple’s internal chips have a few extra goodies in them that can monitor the refresh rate of the display. While using the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, the display can rev up the refresh rate all the way to 120Hz in certain situations. The display can also reach an ultra-low refresh rate of 1Hz meaning it only refreshes what it shows every second.
This is what an “off’ iPhone 14 Pro looks like
Apple has already done this across its most recent range of Apple Watches. The tech uses a low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) screen on top of the OLED panel to dynamically adjust the refresh rate to 1Hz when not in use. This is how the Apple Watch Series 5 and up can show detailed images, colours and information without actually being on. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are now doing the same thing but on a much larger scale.
Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have extra coprocessors within the chipset that operates at a ridiculously low wattage. This tech then controls the refresh rate of the display and will control the 1Hz output when the device is “off”. So instead of seeing just your lock when your phone is off, the new iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will keep up updated on your wallpaper, widgets, time, charging status and so much more.
The iPhone 14 range is set to launch on 23 September in South Africa. Pre-orders open on 16 September. Find out more here.