Apple Vision Pro runs at 90Hz refresh rate most of the time
The Apple Vision Pro announcement on Monday was impressive, but somewhat light on tech specs, partly because the device isn’t finalized yet and still at least six months out from going on sale.
In the marketing materials, Apple said each of the micro-OLED eye displays exceed 4K resolution, with a total of 23 million pixels. But it does not mention “ProMotion” or make any reference to the refresh rate of these panels, other than saying the latency of the overall system is about 12 milliseconds. But a WWDC developer session has the details here …
During the session ‘Optimize app power and performance for spatial reality’, the presenter says the display’s refresh rate is “usually 90 frames a second”.
For context, this is between the traditional 60Hz refresh rate on base model iPhones and the 120Hz maximum of ProMotion seen on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro. 90Hz is generally considered the recommended minimum for virtual reality experiences, high enough that your brain will generally accept it as real-life motion. The all-encompassing nature of the spatial computing environment helps to sell the illusion, even if the frame rate is lower than what you’d see on iPhone and iPads.
However, the Apple Vision Pro display system can actually be driven at faster than 90Hz in some cases. For example, when watching 24 FPS movie content, the display will ramp up to 96Hz refresh rate, thereby reducing the frame jitter effect that would otherwise be necessary at the default refresh rate, as 24 does not divide evenly into 90, but it does divide into 96. This is similar to how ProMotion displays on iPhone and iPad adapt dynamically to the content being viewed.
90Hz is lower than some virtual reality headsets on the market today, which can go as high as 144Hz, but of course no other headset is pushing anywhere near as many pixels as what the Vision Pro does. Overall immersion is the result of the combination of these factors, and the Vision Pro will win out every time.
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