The reason for those smooth iPhone X gestures? 120Hz touch input sampling


Before actually getting to use the iPhone X last week, we were a bit on the fence about its new gesture-based navigation of swiping up, holding, or flipping through recent apps. Could these really replace the simple act of tapping the legacy home key? 

Our worries, it turned out during the review process, were in vain. Not only are the gestures very intuitive, and easy to become second nature, but also the sheer responsiveness of the display while executing those made us wonder what could be behind the smooth operation. We din't encounter a stutter, slowdown or skipped animation framing once, even with plenty of processes kept in the background.

Well, remember those rumors that the iPhone X will sport the same ProMotion display refresh technology that is available on Apple's newer iPad Pros? ProMotion is Apple's marketing name for doubling the typical 60Hz refresh rate of a mobile display, and that 120Hz refresh makes everything scroll, swipe and animate smooth as silk. The upcoming Razer Phone does that, too, and it is one of the crown jewels in its gaming street cred. 

The iPhone X, however, doesn't have a true ProMotion 120Hz display refresh rate, so how come the gesture response is so instantaneous? What the iPhone X does have, is the next best thing  - a 120Hz touch sampling rate, as you can see in Apple's developer support table below. It means that when you place your finger(s) on the display, it refreshes with double the usual rate, ready to follow every flick and whim of your fingertip(s) with lightning speed, then throttles things down to the normal rate to save on tasking the graphics subsystem and the battery. Could this be the reason for the touch layer freezes in cold weather temps? It remains to be heard, but Apple promised a software fix, so that might have something to do with it.

Or, as Apple puts it for its developers: "When the capture rate is higher than the delivery rate, multiple events are coalesced into one touch event whose location reflects the most recent touch. However, the additional touch information is available for apps that need more precision." Not ProMotion, but a welcome promotion to the good ol' touch layer nonetheless, and a good compromise between performance and power draw.

The reason for those smooth iPhone X gestures? 120Hz touch input sampling

source: Apple

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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43 Comments

1. Wickedsamaritan

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

Can't wait for the next iPhone X article

2. Modest_Moze

Posts: 184; Member since: Mar 23, 2015

Let's wait together if you don't mind.

16. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Next will be about the notch. How at the beginning ppl may don't like it, but how it grows in them with the time, and can not live without it. (same was with the 'no jack input' great feature)

32. Phullofphil

Posts: 1740; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

Aperently you all trolls love iPhone articles. Commenting weird stuff on all of them. I find this very interesting info. Hey but I am an optimistic person. I would be equally interested if Samsung has a new tech on there next phone that was better than anything else out ther. I wouldn’t complain about it like a jealous high school freshman. Hey if you are in high school I am sorry because I am out of line you would be acting normal.

39. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Michael Jackson needs to switch from popcorn to notchyos.

3. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 399; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

It's like a rinse and repeat here. I'm just waiting for the next article bashing the Pixel 2 or XL. IMO I would have to say the phone of the year is note 8 at the moment and on believe note 9 will bring things to another level. It's almost the closest thing to a surface phone. Samsung got the juice now.

26. SteveS

Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 15, 2013

What do feel makes the Note 8 the phone of the year? It doesn't have the best performance, it doesn't have the best camera, it doesn't have the best screen, etc. It's a nice phone and clearly Samsung's best effort, but it's hard to justify how this would be the phone of the year.

29. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

I can imagine all the frustration and mental pressure you all Apple haters go through these days....LMAO Sincerely I feel sorry for all you bunch of idiots. My advice is just buy an iPhone and say bye bye to crappy android once and for all. You all have about 20 flagship android phones but NON of them come even close to the iPhone X......lol NON!!!

42. ScottsoNJ56

Posts: 70; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

None of them come close. They surpass the X lol

44. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1504; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

I can see your tears in this comment.

4. lazarus_26

Posts: 38; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

For me this phone is amazing and I absolutely love it.

6. Peacetoall unregistered

For me its completely opposite what you think.

7. lazarus_26

Posts: 38; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

ok, I respect your opinion. hope you enjoy whatever you like.

30. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Apple has literary raped your forehead, I can see it in your profile pic, so I can understand your mental inability......lol

40. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Peacetroll, oh the contradiction.

17. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

I can understand you. You guys were waiting for great Samsung's OLED display for such a long time. But still can not understand, Why Apple didn't put virtual home button with Hard Press. What's better use of the existing Hard Press feature on iPhone displays???? And easier for old and long-time ifans.

18. toukale

Posts: 605; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

If someone really want that feature, you can do so under the accessibility menu. There, you can turn on the software home button (which you can position anywhere on the screen). You can also customize it to your liking, that feature has been in iOS for years now.

22. Xilam unregistered

Klinton. I bet only very very few people cared if iPhone X had lcd or oled screen. Everyone wanted better screen to body ratio - that’s it! This phone would have sold just as good with the same screen tec as iPhone 6, with same ppi as iPhone 6 - and no one would care. The only benefit for oled screen is battery savings with dark mode - that’s it. Oversaturation is hit and miss with people - it’s subjective. Burn in is actually a real concern now. So here are positives and negatives. But trust me - ask anyone, nearly all people would say they don’t care (you’ll here more on tech forums that actually know the difference). But to the rest - no one cares. Stop selling like oled is such god-send. It’s got its own problems.

28. SteveS

Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 15, 2013

You should know that the screen isn't an off the shelf Samsung part. It's an Apple designed screen that leverages Samsung's manufacturing technology. As reviewed on DisplayMate, it's a higher quality screen than Samsung was able to make for their own phones. As others have mentioned, there are pros and cons to OLED and LCD. The quality of best of both technologies are very similar. Going OLED is motivated by battery saving and form factor rather than quality. In fact, Apple apparently had to jump through quite a few hoops in order to help mitigate things like screen burn in and color shifting, etc. that's associated with OLED.

5. mikehunta727 unregistered

Thats awesome...you can definitely feel the 120 hz touch input when using it, feels so responsive and quick I hope next Android flagships incorporate this. It really does make a difference

10. bucknassty

Posts: 1295; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

I wonder how this compares to the razor phone...

12. adecvat

Posts: 600; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Useless because OS will lag anyway.

14. toukale

Posts: 605; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

@adecvat - it won't be total useless, it will make a difference. You are however right that in order for it to be working great, those changes needs to also happen at the OS level. That is one of the issues Android oem's have since they don't control the entire stack. Some vendors have tried to tweak/hack the OS a bit, which is what the upcoming Razor guys are doing.

31. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

OS will lag on Note 8 as always but not in iPhone... Note 8 >>> Lag City

41. drunkenjay

Posts: 1640; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

actually the iphone x os does lag. I have one.

20. qwertsun

Posts: 42; Member since: Dec 02, 2015

Try an AQUOS phone from Japan which has 120HZ screen since 2015 :-)

8. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2118; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

So this means iPhone XI will get 120 Hz Sample and Touch. I believe iPad 2018 will get 240 Hz Sample and Touch! Wow!

19. Sania

Posts: 97; Member since: Nov 04, 2017

The next gen iPhone XXVIII will have 1Ghz sample and touch which is beyond awesome

9. fyah_king unregistered

Where's the 360Hz sample and touch? 480Hz?lol

11. Peacetoall unregistered

360 HZ thats not possible

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