9to5Mac searched the code of Apple’s latest iOS 16 beta four and found a new ‘Sleep’ state, which I was able to activate. When enabled, sleep mode darkens and smudges the iPhone screen when the device is locked, rather than turning the screen off completely. “The clock and widgets selected by the user will also be visible when the screen is off,” explains 9to5Mac.
This is the behavior of the always-on display, and Apple has a history with this functionality. As 9to5Mac notes:
“Basically, it looks like Apple will replicate the same effect from the Apple Watch on the iPhone 14 Pro. This means that users will somehow still see their wallpapers even when the screen is off. The wallpaper will be displayed at full brightness as soon as the user taps the screen or presses the power button.”
And yes, that also reveals a feature: the feature will be exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models. why? Because only Pro models will ship with a new variable refresh rate offering that drops from 120Hz all the way down to 1Hz. The screen hardly consumes any power at this lower level, so the feature doesn’t come at the cost of high battery drain. On the flip side, it means that current iPhones are very unlikely to get this functionality.
While much awaited by iPhone fans, Always-On screens have been a mainstay of Android smartphones for many years now. Apple was also expected to release this catch-up technology with the iPhone 13, but it failed to make that cut.
More broadly, I suspect this is just the beginning of the iOS 16 beta code leaks because Apple has a long history of revealing upcoming product details through generational iOS upgrades. iOS 12 beta versions included iPhone XS Max icons; iOS 13 iPhone SE2 and Apple CarKey leaked; iOS 14 leaked the iPhone 12 Mini, and iOS 15 leaked the next generation of MacBooks.
So wait because supply chain reports claim that the iPhone 14 launch schedule is still on track. That means there are less than two months to release, which is when drop season hits a pick-up.
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