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It would allow the phone to show some information all of the time, even before users make the iPhone wake up.
That is one of a number of new additions to the iPhone 13 reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has revealed a number of Apple features before they are public.
He says that the new phone will have a “faster A15 chip, smaller notch, a new display for better battery life and the potential of an Apple Watch-like always on mode and a 120Hz refresh rate and upgrades to video recording”.
The iPhone has used an OLED display of the kind found in the Apple Watch since the iPhone X, and rumours have swirled that the company could use it to show some information permanently on the screen ever since.
OLED technology allows screens to light up only the pixels they need to use – such as those to show the time, weather information, or other helpful details on the screen – meaning that the impact on the battery is relatively limited despite leaving the screen always on.
The always-on display arrived with the Apple Watch Series 5, and is also in the Series 6. It shows only a limited version of the watchface – with the time and any other key information – as well as updating more slowly than usual, to preserve battery.
The Apple Watch uses a special technology called low temperature polycrystalline oxide, or LTPO, which means that the displays can adjust their refresh rates to help keep the battery usage down. Repeated rumours have suggested that at least some of the iPhones to be released later this year will include that technology.
Mr Gurman also reported in his Power On newsletter that Apple will announce new versions of the MacBook Pro later this year, probably between September and November.