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Apple’s AR/VR headset is anticipated to have an outstanding display, so take care

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Project Cambria and Meta’s Quest 2 might be forgotten about.

image credits: abbott

Apple’s first AR/VR headset has not yet been made public, but there are already whispers about its second-generation headset. If they are accurate, Apple’s upcoming mixed reality device may have a display that is superior to both the Quest 2 and PSVR 2.

Apple’s interest in microOLED screens for its AR/VR headsets has long been reported. As we noted in February, Apple hoped to employ these panels in conjunction with an M1 chip to produce a headset that was more streamlined and energy-efficient than its competitors.

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According to recent claims from Patently Apple(opens in new tab), Apple plans to use these types of displays for its second headgear, however there will be some improvements. On a less important topic, when Apple releases its second headset, it will reportedly switch from using Sony-made screens to LG-made panels. Our current favourite TVs are the LG C2 and LG G2, so we’re certain that LG will apply its knowledge of manufacturing these panels to the screens it makes for Apple’s headsets.

However, LG apparently plans to use cutting-edge display technology created by AP Systems in addition to its own expertise. Apple reportedly was pleased with the findings after requesting a sample of a 3,000 ppi fine metal mask from AP Systems in 2021 (via The Elec(opens in new tab)). Additionally, AP Systems is now collaborating with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy of South Korea on a project to develop 4,000 ppi screens for VR/AR devices by 2024.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s second-generation AR/VR headset incorporated this new technology into its design if it can accomplish this goal. The Quest 2 only has 773ppi, but Project Cambria is said to have 1230ppi, so if it does, Apple would completely destroy rival Meta.

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Having said all of that, you should surely take these rumours with a grain of salt.

Apple’s second-generation headset is still several years away because, among other things, its initial headset hasn’t even been revealed yet. Although it wouldn’t surprise us if the next headset’s design was already in motion, it would surprise us if anything had been decided upon this early.

The possibility exists that Apple will decide against developing a generation one headset and will instead give up on the AR/VR market.

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The design of Apple’s first headgear has apparently changed significantly from Apple’s original concept due to several development hurdles. Similar issues can arise for Apple’s development staff the second time around. The development of the new screens also involves Apple’s suppliers (AP Systems and LG); if their efforts encounter any obstacles, there won’t be any 4,000ppi panels available for Apple to utilise, even if it wants to.

Will Apple’s headset display be overly impressive?

Why should we care if Apple’s rumoured headset has a greater pixel density? It’s all well and well to claim that.

All VR headset displays may experience something known as the screen door effect, as we previously mentioned when talking about the pixel density of the Quest 2. When viewing a display up close, you may see dark lines across the screen that are generated by the space between pixels because displays are simply a repeating array of LEDs.

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The screen door effect is significantly more pronounced in virtual reality because by design a screen is directly in front of your face. It can simultaneously disrupt your sense of immersion and serve as a continual reminder that you are in a virtual world.

Higher pixel density are useful in this situation. The distance between pixels will get smaller until it’s undetectable if you can squeeze more LEDs into a display area.

Additionally, Apple will be able to produce higher resolutions and more spectacular images on smaller screens thanks to increased pixel density displays, which will assist to lighten the weight of its headset without compromising picture quality.

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Apple may, however, be going a little too far at this point.

Apple’s goal of pixels per degree, or the number of pixels per degree of vision, will be easier to reach with a higher number of pixels per inch. The aim that Meta and Apple are attempting to achieve with their headsets is 60ppd because anything faster than that is indistinguishable to the human eye.

Our very rough projections for Project Cambria indicate that it will reach 33ppd, while The Quest 2 is now at 21ppd. Apple will be looking at roughly 80ppd for a 3,000ppi headset and around 100ppd for a 4,000ppi headset based on the same assumptions we used to calculate Cambria’s pixels per density (where the focal length and display area of the headsets are identical to the Quest 2).

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This is a very rough estimate, but it shows about how much more aesthetically impressive Apple’s devices could be. Given that the Apple device is anticipated to be much slimmer than the Quest 2, we can immediately presume it will have a different focal length.

Before we can compare the speculations and our projections, Apple will need to make an official announcement. But we might be in for a treat when Apple does ultimately reveal its headgear.

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