Apple is reportedly working with TSMC to develop ultra-thin, energy-efficient micro OLED displays designed to be used in its often-rumoured augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) devices.
According to Nikkei Asia, the research and development project is currently in the trial production stage and focuses on smaller than one-inch displays. The publication says that the project is “several years” away from release.
This display would likely be featured in Apple’s rumoured AR/VR headsets that are reportedly currently in development and could be released as early as next year. Nikkei says that these thin displays are built directly onto “chip wafers” and not traditional glass like an OLED or LCD display, making them perfect for use in AR/VR headsets. TSMC is a “longtime” Apple chip supplier, says Nikkei.
“Panel players are good at making screens bigger and bigger, but when it comes to thin and light devices like AR glasses, you need a very small screen,” reads a statement from Nikkei’s sources regarding the project.
Apple is reportedly working on two different headsets. Its VR headset (codenamed N301), could be released as early as next year, while a more compact pair of AR glasses (codenamed N421), is rumoured to be released in 2021. The tech giant’s VR headset is rumoured to feature two 8K displays and a lightweight fabric build, according to The Information’s recent report.
This same report indicated that the headset could cost in the range of $3,000 USD (roughly $4,749 CAD). It’s also worth noting that some rumours indicate that Apple only has plans to release one combined AR/VR headset and not a single headset that features a combination of the two technologies.
Along with new micro OLED technology, Nikkei mentions that Apple is also working with MicroLED tech that utilizes miniature LEDs that don’t require standard backlighting. This technology is rumoured to be featured in upcoming versions of the Apple Watch, iPad and MacBooks.
Apple’s switch to MicroLED displays has been rumoured as far back as 2019 with the company’s Apple Watch, though it’s yet to make the jump yet.
Image credit: The Information