Xcode 8.3 provides more hints at 120Hz iPad Pro displays

By

x
The new iPad Pro may feature smaller bezels.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The latest update to Xcode has provided another hint that Apple’s next-generation iPad Pro will feature a faster 120Hz display.

Existing iPhone and iPad displays max out at 60Hz, but higher refresh rates allow for a smoother experience when playing graphically intensive games and using Apple Pencil.

The faster a display’s refresh rate, the more frames it can process every second. A 60Hz display is capable of processing up to 60 frames-per-second, while a 120Hz display can process up to 120. This isn’t always necessary, but there are times when it helps.

For instance, Apple has made it so that the iPad Pro’s digitizer can sample Apple Pencil’s position at 240 times-per-second. However, the display can only update that position at 60 fps.

Rumors that Apple could adopt 120Hz displays for the next iPad Pro to provide “deeper stylus integration” first surfaced last August. iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith then found evidence of support for faster refresh rates earlier this month in iOS 10.3 code.

Now another hint has been discovered in Xcode 8.3, which rolled out alongside the public release of iOS 10.3 earlier this week.

“As a developer for 3D stuff, I saw something weird happening in Xcode today,” explains Jakouf on Reddit. “Since the new version of Xcode 8.3 (which was released with the iOS 10.3) the FPS Counter has changed.”

Instead of maxing out at 60 fps like it did prior to Xcode 8.3, the counter now goes up to 120 fps — as shown in the screenshot below.

Xcode 8.3 fps counter
Xcode’s new FPS counter goes up to 120.
Photo: Jakouf/Reddit

“When only having one View where I will render into it, the normal 0-60 FPS Counter comes up,” Jakouf continues. “When having multiple views which will be rendered by OpenGLES at the same time, the counter switches to the 0-120 Counter.”

This doesn’t confirm anything just yet, but it certainly looks like Apple is paving the way for faster displays in the future. It’s unlikely would would be finding these hints in iOS 10.3 and Xcode 8.3 for no reason.