Forget iPhone 12 — iPhone 13 is getting the one feature you really want

iPhone 12
(Image credit: PhoneArena)

If the fact that this year's iPhone 12  models are unlikely to feature displays offering fast refresh rates has you bummed out, then you can take some consolation in the notion that the feature is likely coming to the iPhone next year. 

That's the word from Mizuho Securities, a Japanese investment banking firm, which has posted its forecast about the iPhone 13 well in advance of the release of the 2021 iPhones. As highlighted by display expert Ross Young, the report claims that next year's Pro models will feature variable refresh rates similar to what Samsung added with this year's Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Does it seem a little odd to be talking about the iPhone 13 when the iPhone 12 hasn't even been announced yet? Welcome to the world of smartphone rumors, where the most anticipated model is always the one coming out after the next one.

What's likely to change is the refresh rate of those screens on the Pro models. Young says the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will feature variable refresh rates using LTPO technology. That allows the phones to dynamically change refresh rates to adjust for whatever activity you're performing. Scrolling and playing games will use a faster refresh rate, while looking at still images would slow things down to preserve battery life.

It had long been rumored that a 120Hz refresh rate was slated for this year's iPhones — or at least for the iPhone 12 models. But an increasing number of Apple watchers think that the company will skip out on adding that feature on the models coming out this month.

Next year's iPhones are likely to include integrated touch. As Young explains in a subsequent tweet, this means that the display supplier has patterned the touch sensor over the OLED layers instead of buying a sensor and laminating it over the panel. That means thinner displays that could cost less.

(Image credit: Mizuho Securities/Ross Young)

The other noteworthy change involves the camera sensor in the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13. It's reportedly going to be the one that Apple uses in the upcoming iPhone 12 Max, suggesting a big improvement in cameras for all four iPhone 13 models. (The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max would get upgrades of their own.)

One curious note in the Mizuho Securities table involves 5G, where the firm predicts that only the Pro models of next year's phone will work with all versions of 5G, while the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 will be restricted to slower sub-6Ghz networks. With 5G networks evolving, this prediction feels remarkably rooted in the here and now and not reflective of what 5G performance might be like a year from now.

As for this year's iPhone, we're still waiting for Apple to announce an iPhone 12 launch event let alone confirm all the features that the rumor claims the new devices will feature. The Pro models of the iPhone 12 are expected to add a LiDAR sensor to their rear camera array, while the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 should adopt OLED screens instead of the LCD panel used by the iPhone 11. We're also looking for all iPhone 12 models to add 5G connectivity.

We could find out soon what the iPhone 12 has in store, as Apple will reportedly set an Oct. 13 launch event in the coming days. As for the iPhone 13, we've got another 12 months of rumors ahead of us.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.