While Apple has yet to reveal its first AR/VR headset to the world, there are already rumors about its second-generation headset. If true, Apple’s mixed reality device could have an amazing display that will put Quest 2 and PSVR 2 to shame.
Apple has long been rumored to be eyeing microOLED displays for its AR/VR headsets. We reported this back in February, with Apple hoping to use these panels alongside an M1 chip to create a slimmer, more power-efficient headset than its rivals.
Now reports from patented apple (opens in new tab) indicate that it intends to keep these types of screens for its second headset, although it is making some updates. On a smaller note, Apple will apparently switch from using panels made by Sony to using panels made by LG when its second headset launches. LG makes our favorite TVs right now – the LG C2 and LG G2 – so we’re sure they’ll bring their experience making these displays when creating Apple’s headphone monitors.
But LG will not only bring its expertise, it will also use new display technology developed by AP Systems. Apple requested a 3,000ppi thin metal mask sample from AP Systems in 2021 (via the electronics (opens in new tab)) and was apparently impressed with the results. Additionally, AP Systems is currently working on a project with the South Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy to create 4,000ppi displays for VR/AR devices by 2024.
If it can achieve that goal, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s second-gen AR/VR headset incorporates this new technology into its design. If that happens Apple would take rival Meta out of the water, the Quest 2 is just 773ppi and the Project Cambria is rumored to be 1230ppi.
Having said all that, you’ll definitely want to take these rumors with a pinch of salt.
For one, Apple’s first headset hasn’t even been announced yet, so its second-gen device is still several years away. While we wouldn’t be surprised if the design process was already underway for the follow-up headset, we’d be shocked if something was finished so far in advance.
On that note, there’s a chance Apple may never reveal a first-gen headset, deciding to ditch the device altogether and ditch the AR/VR space.
In addition, Apple’s first headset reportedly hit several development hurdles – which caused its design to change considerably from Apple’s original vision. Likewise, Apple’s development team may face similar issues the second time around. Apple vendors (AP Systems and LG) also have a role to play in the development of the new displays; if their work hits any setbacks, there won’t be 4,000 ppi panels for Apple to use even if it wants to.
Review: Will Apple’s headphone display be very good?
It’s fine to say that Apple’s headset will have a higher pixel density, but why should we care?
As we wrote earlier when discussing the Quest 2’s pixel density, all VR headset monitors can suffer from something called a screen port effect. Since monitors are just a repeating set of LEDs when you are close to them, you can detect dark lines across the screen caused by the space between pixels.
By design, VR puts a screen right in front of your face, so the screen door effect is much more noticeable. Simultaneously, it can also be very innovative – acting as a constant reminder that you are indeed in a virtual world.
That’s where higher pixel densities come in. If you can put more LEDs in a display area, the space between pixels will decrease until it is imperceptible.
In addition, screens with higher pixel density will allow Apple to create higher resolutions and more impressive visuals on smaller screens – helping to reduce the weight of your headset without sacrificing image performance.
However, Apple may already be taking things a little too far.
A higher number of pixels per inch will help Apple hit another target, pixels per degree – that’s the number of pixels per degree of vision. Our eyes can’t distinguish anything above 60ppd, so that’s the target Meta and Apple are trying to hit with their headphones.
The Quest 2 is currently at 21ppd, and our very rough estimates for Project Cambria suggest it will hit 33. Using the same assumptions we used to calculate the Cambria’s pixels per density (where the focal length and screen size of the headphones are identical to the Quest 2), Apple will be looking at around 80ppd for a 3,000ppi headset and over 100ppd for a 4,000ppi headset.
This is an incredibly rough estimate – given that Apple’s device is expected to be much thinner than the Quest 2, we can already assume it will have a different focal length – but it gives an indication of how much more visually impressive Apple’s devices could be. to be. .
We’ll have to wait for Apple to make an official announcement before we know how the rumors and our estimates compare. But when Apple finally reveals its headset, we might be in for a treat.