iPhone 13 Pro: The biggest display leap since Apple’s iPhone 4 (Sorry, iPhone X)

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
iPhone 13 Pro: The biggest display leap since Apple’s iPhone 4 (Sorry, iPhone X)
The year is 2010. Steve Jobs is on stage minutes before asking people in the audience to turn off their Wi-Fi to continue with his iPhone 4 Retina Display demo. That’s one of Jobs’ iconic moments on stage for Apple, but the star of the show back in 2010 was undoubtedly the brand new, extraordinary (at the time) Retina Display.

iPhone 4 Retina Display:

  • 3.5-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD display
  • Resolution: 640x960 (326ppi) - beyond what the human eye can see from an average viewing distance
  • 16 million colors
  • Oleophobic coating
  • Wide viewing angles
  • Corning Gorilla Glass

Long story short, the iPhone 4 was a massive, and I mean massive improvement compared to Apple’s iPhone 3GS from 2009. To illustrate that, let's go 10 years back in time! These are some of the words used by John Velasco, who reviewed the iPhone 4 for PhoneArena back in 2011:

It just so happened to be leagues ahead of the competition too. Let’s take Samsung’s very first Galaxy S, which went head to head with the iPhone 4 from 2010.

Samsung Galaxy S Display

  • 4-inch Super AMOLED WVGA
  • Resolution: 480x800 (233ppi)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass

Save for the better contrast provided by Samsung’s AMOLED screen, the iPhone’s Retina Display was sharper, more accurate, and had an oleophobic coating, which prevented it from turning into a greasy mess when handled.

Of course, 11 years later, the tables have turned. Android flagships have significantly more advanced displays than iPhones, thanks to their higher refresh rates and touch sampling rates. For reference:

The thing is - that’s not even Android’s best. There are phones with much higher refresh rates and touch sampling rates. Take Sharp’s Aquos R6, which has a 240Hz refresh rate - twice as fast as the one on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Or the Asus ROG 5s Pro, which boasts a 360Hz touch sampling rate.

The point is - Apple’s iPhone 4 Retina Display glory days are gone. In fact, even before the high refresh rate era and before the iPhone X came out, Apple’s previous iPhones were falling even further behind when it came to contrast ratio and brightness.

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max: Welcome Pro Motion

And here come the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. As a matter of fact, the iPad Pro’s 120Hz ProMotion display was expected to hit iPhones back in 2020 for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, according to various sources, Apple didn’t manage to secure enough panels for all the iPhones that would have been sold. Well, 2021 is going to be the year for the biggest iPhone display refresh since iPhone 4, and perhaps since iPhone X!

If you haven’t used a phone with a high refresh rate screen, I strongly recommend going into a store to try a recent Android flagship. Pretty much all of them will feature at least 90-120Hz refresh rates.

So, what should you expect? Well, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max displays will look and, more importantly, feel much faster. Animations and scrolling will be smoother than ever. Combined with Apple’s already great optimization, which makes even 60Hz displays look smooth, the 120Hz ProMotion display will elevate the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, to new heights. It will be a huge visual change for iPhone users, who (let’s be honest), aren’t used to big changes.

Apart from the 120Hz ProMotion display, the iPhone 13 series is (finally!) expected to become an Always-On display! Of course, Apple will tell you this feature comes from the Apple Watch, and while this might be true, we all know that Android phones have featured Always-On displays for ages. Regardless, it would be a great addition, which will make the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max displays even more... Pro. Even better, it is believed that the regular iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini might also join the Always-On display party!

That’s why I expect that the iPhone 13 series will sell like hotcakes! And guess what - Apple agrees. As reported, Cupertino is so confident that the iPhone 13 series will sell well that they’ve ordered 100 million units! This is more than the iPhone 12 series initial order, and these phones already broke a few records.

The iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max: The best-selling phones of 2020-2021 might be outshined soon

Top 10 smartphones by volume share, Q1 2021:

  1. iPhone 12
  2. iPhone 12 Pro Max
  3. iPhone 12 Pro
  4. iPhone 11
  5. Xiaomi Redmi 9A
  6. Xiaomi Redmi 9
  7. Samsung Galaxy A12
  8. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9
  9. Samsung Galaxy A21S
  10. Samsung Galaxy A31

Now, bear with me!  If the fact that Apple is preparing to sell 100 million iPhones in no time, another strong point to lean on is the sales of the... iPhone 6 series from 2014 - the best-selling smartphones of all time! Yes, that’s right. And guess what! What was the biggest change we saw on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus compared to the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S? Say it with me… the displays!

Back in 2014, Apple finally jumped on the big screen train wagon, despite the fact that Steve Jobs probably wouldn’t have liked this idea. We’ll never know if that would have been the case. However, what we know is that people went Bananas for those iPhone 6 Apples. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus exceeded 200 million sold units.

Now, Apple has a chance to cause another boom effect, once people find out that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max really do feel much faster, smoother, and more responsive thanks to the 120Hz ProMotion display, A15 chip, and of course, iOS 15.

In the end, we are glad that Apple is finally going to join the high-refresh-rate club. The iPhone 13 series is expected to be unveiled in the third week of September, which is about a month away. We are also looking forward to the iPhone 14, which might make the standard iPhone “Pro”, thanks to the 120Hz ProMotion display that might make its way down from the iPhone 13 Pro.

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