The first iOS 16 beta release is here and Apple has left a treasure trove of information in its code, including what is hotly tipped to be a standout iPhone 14 upgrade.
Spotted by 9to5Mac, iOS 16 contains “multiple references that confirm iOS 16 does indeed include support for an always-on display”. This is a feature Apple chose to leave out of the official iOS 16 launch and, explaining its omission, something Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently claimed will be exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro models.
Breaking down its discovery, 9to5Mac explains:
“Within iOS 16, there are three new frameworks that have been added that relate to backlight management of the iPhone’s display. Backlight management is a key aspect of enabling an always-on feature. Each of these frameworks includes references to an always-on display capability.”
The site points out that the references should not be confused with the always-on display that already exists in the Apple Watch, and are specific to components within iOS — including the lock screen.
“Additionally, and most notably, there are multiple references to an always-on display within the Springboard — which is what manages the Lock Screen (and home screen) of iPhone. Apple Watch does not use Springboard,” it concludes.
Interestingly, 9to5Mac notes that there are hidden flags within the iOS 16 beta code which allow the feature to be enabled on unsupported devices for testing. Should that give owners of older iPhones hope? I wouldn’t be so sure.
First, while iPhone 13 Pro models have displays with a variable refresh rate of 10-120Hz, the iPhone 14 Pro display is tipped to go as low as 1Hz making an always-on display more efficient on this device. Second, were it coming to existing iPhone models Apple would surely have announced it, especially when it talked up lockscreen improvements as one of iOS 16’s biggest upgrades.
Moreover, Apple has a long history of including code in next-generation iOS releases that leaks information about upcoming products and accessories. Beta code for iOS 12 included iPhone XS Max iconography, iOS 13 leaked the iPhone SE2 as well as Apple CarKey, iOS 14 leaked the iPhone 12 Mini and iOS 15 leaked next-gen MacBooks.
Consequently, as long as the feature makes it into the final iOS 16 release, I believe we’ve just seen the first example of aggressive iPhone 14 differentiation that Apple is expected to pursue. No matter the cost.
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