The announcement of Apple Vision Pro on Monday left a strong impression, although it lacked detailed technical specifications. This is mainly because the device is still in development and will not be available for sale for at least six more months.
According to Apple’s marketing materials, each micro-OLED eye display of the Vision Pro surpasses 4K resolution, boasting 23 million pixels. However, there was no mention of “ProMotion” or any reference to the refresh rate of these panels, except for an indication that the system latency is around 12 milliseconds. Fortunately, further information was provided during a WWDC developer session titled ‘Optimize app power and performance for spatial reality.’
In the session, the presenter revealed that the display’s refresh rate is typically 90 frames per second. To put this into perspective, it falls between the standard 60Hz refresh rate found in base model iPhones and the maximum 120Hz ProMotion available on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro. Generally, 90Hz is the recommended minimum for virtual reality experiences, as it is high enough for our brains to perceive it as real-life motion. The comprehensive nature of the spatial computing environment aids in selling the illusion, even if the frame rate is lower than that of iPhones and iPads.
However, it is worth noting that the Apple Vision Pro display system can operate at a higher refresh rate than 90Hz in certain cases. For instance, when watching 24 frames per second (FPS) movie content, the display will increase the refresh rate to 96Hz. This helps to reduce the noticeable jitters that would otherwise be present at the default refresh rate, as 24 does not evenly divide into 90, but it does into 96. This adaptive behavior is similar to how ProMotion displays on iPhone and iPad dynamically adjust to the viewed content.
While 90Hz may be lower compared to some virtual reality headsets currently available on the market, which can reach up to 144Hz, it’s important to consider that none offer the same pixel density as the Vision Pro. The combination of factors, including the high pixel count and immersive nature of the Vision Pro, ensures unparalleled immersion for users.