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Apple’s Vision Pro headset woes exposed – Details

In this post:

  • Apple’s Vision Pro headset production forecasts have been significantly reduced due to high costs and technical challenges of micro OLED displays.
  • These displays are crucial for providing immersive experiences but are difficult to mass-produce, leading to prohibitive costs.
  • Sony, the current producer of these displays, is reluctant to increase production, creating opportunities for rivals Samsung and LG Display.

The Apple Vision Pro headset finds itself under the industry microscope as a consequence of Apple’s recent drastic reduction in its production forecasts.

Originally aiming for a sales target of 1 million units in its first year, Apple has now revised its 2024 expectations to a sobering 400,000 units.

The spotlight has turned onto the headset’s premium-priced micro OLED displays, known to be the core component in producing truly immersive user experiences.

Apple’s complex and costly venture

The revised figures point to a challenging path ahead for Apple. The tech behemoth grapples with the intricate design intricacies and high costs associated with micro OLED technology.

A relatively small-scale product, these displays measure no larger than a postage stamp and involve a unique manufacturing process. Contrary to the traditional OLED displays found in premium smartphones, micro OLEDs require materials to be placed on a silicon wafer, an element more typically employed in semiconductor production.

These minuscule displays boast an impressive resolution of 3,000 pixels per inch (PPI), a staggering six times higher than their glass OLED counterparts.

This resolution exceeds the visuals offered by cutting-edge 4K televisions, delivering it to each eye of the user. However, this technological marvel comes with a significant price tag.

The production challenges, including the potential for the minutest dust particle to cause catastrophic damage during manufacturing, along with the substantial costs of the silicon wafer, and the lack of mass production capabilities, all coalesce to drive the cost upwards.

TrendForce’s Senior Research Vice-President, Eric Chiou, estimates that the inclusion of two micro OLED displays in each Apple Vision Pro headset – one for each eye – will account for roughly half of the manufacturing cost.

At an estimated $700, this significantly contributes to the retail price of $3,499 when the product hits the U.S. market next year.

A cautionary approach to production

While Apple has engaged Sony for the production of the micro OLED displays for its inaugural Vision Pro, the Japanese tech conglomerate exhibits a cautious approach. It is not keen on scaling up production, expressing doubts about the growth potential of the mixed-reality headset market.

However, Sony’s restraint could provide an opportunity for South Korean rivals Samsung Display and LG Display to take the lead in supplying micro OLEDs for future Vision Pro models and successors.

Samsung Display, after purchasing US-based micro OLED manufacturer eMagin earlier this year, is preparing to commence test production next year in its South Korean facility.

LG Display, the provider of the external OLED displays for the first Vision Pro model, revealed its own micro OLED prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Meanwhile, China-based SeeYA has also stepped into the ring, presenting Apple with prototypes of its micro OLED displays. However, industry experts note that none of the manufacturers have met Apple’s high expectations for the technology due to concerns over the component’s cost.

The release of the Vision Pro exposes the struggles Apple faces in realizing its ambitions in the mixed reality headset market. It remains to be seen whether micro OLEDs will transform from a niche product to a mainstream technology.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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