Samsung Display will also supply micro OLED panels for Apple headset

An Apple headset should use miniature OLED display panels made by Samsung Display, in addition to Sony and LG Display ones, a new report alleges.

A head-worn mixed reality Apple headset device is imagined in this concept
Image credit: Andrea Copellino / Behance
  • Apple’s first mixed-reality device should use micro-OLED panels for its head-mounted display, capable of showing crips detail at 3,000 points per inch.
  • Sony and LG Display are expected to be the primary suppliers of tiny OLEDs, but Samsung Display could also enter Apple’s supply chain for the product.
  • A new report claims that Apple has requested Samsung Display to develop a Micro-OLED panel for its future mixed-reality device.

An Apple headset screen will use miniature OLED panels

As The Elec reports, Samsung Display was also approached by other players looking to launch next-generation augmented reality products in 2023, including Meta and Samsung Display’s parent company, Samsung Electronics. Samsung had been avoiding such requests so far because micro-OLED panels apparently have low profitability. Read: How to manage settings for external displays on macOS

Previous rumors suggested Apple’s device would be equipped with three OLED displays, one Sony-made 4K display per eye along with a third screen dedicated to low-resolution peripheral vision. The third screen is a regular OLED from LG Display.

Micro-OLED vs. regular OLED: What’s the difference?

So what are micro OLED displays besides OLED-based screens that are very small? With regular smartphone screens like those used in the iPhone, an OLED panel is built on a glass substrate which yields a pixel size of 40-300 micrometers. With micro-OLED technology, the OLED is mounted directly onto a chip wafer. Apple is thought to be collaborating with its chip supplier TSMC on building micro-OLEDs. By eliminating the glass substrate from the equation, micro-OLEDs can be much smaller and thinner than regular OLED-based smartphone screens. At the same time, they allow for very high resolutions thanks to smaller pixels measuring 4-20 micrometers.

What’s a foveated display? How does it work?

Apple’s headset is likely to use a foveated display system that mimics the characteristics of the human eye by only rendering high-quality images directly in the zone gazed by the fovea. The fovea is your sharp central vision that captures high visual detail but only on an area the size of your thumb. Your eye rapidly moves the fovea several times per second and your brain interprets those images. Everything outside the scope of the fovea is your peripheral vision.

Apple’s headset is understood to utilize a bunch of internal cameras designed to detect the smallest eye movement and fovea’s focus changes. Apple’s patent details how eye-gaze technology could be used in a mixed-reality headset. Basically, only a section of the scene in your foveated vision would get rendered in the greatest detail possible. Conversely, everything outside of the zone gazed by the fovea would be rendered in reduced image quality. Disney used the same technique to shoot most of the action with actors in front of an enormous LED screen for its Star Wars series “The Mandalorian.” Read: How to manage data usage in the Disney+ app