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Apple is predicted to release a VR headset with three displays and an AR pass-through mode in the second half of 2022, display analysts predict.
The Apple VR headset will reportedly sport an "innovative display configuration" consisting of two microOLED displays and a single AMOLED panel, according to analysts at Display Supply Chain Consultants said. It will support both virtual reality (VR) and a passthrough augmented reality (AR) modes.
Sony is expected to supply Apple with the necessary micro OLED panels. The company recently showed off a 4K VR display with about 4,000 pixels-per-inch, which DSCC says may have been developed for Apple. Going on an assumption of a 4,000 x 4,000 pixel array, DSCC estimates that the display will measure 1.4 inches on the diagonal.
On the third AMOLED display, the analysts predicted that it could be used for low-resolution peripheral vision. That's because AMOLED displays have traditionally had too low of a pixel density for VR.
The advanced display configuration will likely come at a high price for consumers, DSCC said. The firm added that it expects the device to cost "several thousand dollars" — and offered some predictions about its target market.
"Our assumption is that the first-generation headset will be a high-end device targeted at professionals and developers to expand Apple's ecosystem in AR/VR," the analysts wrote. "The device will also have multiple cameras enabling hand tracking and possibly a LiDAR sensor, according to rumors. Apple will likely include a powerful mobile CPU and GPU in the headset."
DSCC also notes that Meta — formerly known as Facebook — is "well on track" to capitalize on the appetite for VR, with an estimated installed base of 10 million headsets. Apple's entry into the space, however, will represent a "significant signal that AR/VR is set to become a major computing platform," the analysts wrote.
Rumors of a high-end Apple VR headset have been circulating for some time. Back in early 2021, a report indicated that the Cupertino tech giant could debut a $3,000 mixed-reality visor with ultra-high-resolution displays in 2022. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the device could weigh less than a pound, while Bloomberg expects the device to be able to handle "games in high-quality virtual reality with snappy chips and high-end displays."