Apple’s WWDC event came and went without any mention of an AR/VR headset, but that hasn’t slowed the influx of reports and rumors surrounding this highly anticipated product. Despite the first model’s absence, we’re now learning about Apple’s second-generation mixed reality headset.
I appreciate your collective eye-rolling and exasperated sighs, but this newest report doesn’t come from a random Twitter user coming up with specs and numbers. Rather, it was reported by the reliable South Korean outfit The Elec, which claims LG Display will attempt to supply the micro OLED panel for Apple’s sophomore headset.
Why not the first model? Sony is reportedly supplying the main micro OLED panel for the original mixed reality headset while LG will provide an outer OLED “indicator” screen.
LG wants to get more involved and will try to overtake Sony as the primary supplier for the main micro OLED display on the second-generation headset. This could benefit Apple as it attempts to distance itself from a potential rival—Sony is already a major player in the VR space with its PlayStation VR headset.
LG is reportedly prepping its micro OLED displays by ordering deposition equipment from Sunic System. It will use those tools to manufacture micro OLED panels for Apple’s second-gen headset.
What is micro OLED?
As The Elec explains, micro OLED mounts an OLED layer on a silicon substrate whereas conventional OLED panels mount them on glass. With crystal silicon as their backplane, micro OLED panels can be thinner and consume less power, while delivering excellent picture quality with perfect black levels and high brightness. micro OLED is expected to be the technology of choice for upcoming mixed reality headsets.
But this nascent screen technology combined with other advanced features (M-series processors, two 8K displays, a dozen sensors) isn’t cheap. It will reportedly raise the price of Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset to a ridiculous $3,000. That’s another zero added to the price of the Oculus Quest 2, the current leader in the space.
We anticipated some mention of AR/VR at Apple’s WWDC event last week, but it never came. Still, all rumors point to a late 2022 or early 2023 reveal and a release in mid/late next year. If you prefer to wait for the second-gen product, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted last year that it would arrive in the second half of 2024 with a lighter design, improved battery life, and faster performance (and a lower price, we hope).