Apple is exploring new suppliers for OLED-on-Silicon panels, likely signaling the development of a more affordable headset destined to sit alongside the Vision Pro, The Elec reports.

The Korean website has apparently detected a shift in Apple’s supply chain management for OLED-on-Silicon (OLEDoS) panels, a key component in the Vision Pro headset. Currently, Sony provides these high-resolution microdisplays, but its limited production capacity of up to 900,000 panels per year and lack of expansion plans have prompted Apple to seek alternatives for the future. Apple has apparently issued a request for information (RFI) to Samsung Display and LG Display to evaluate their capabilities in producing larger OLEDoS panels, ranging from 2.0 to 2.1 inches in size with a display density of around 1,700 pixels per inch (PPI).

These displays would be larger than those currently used in the Vision Pro and feature a lower resolution. The Vision Pro uses Sony’s OLEDoS panels featuring a 1.42-inch screen with a pixel density of nearly 3,400 PPI, employing a white OLED display with color filter (wOLED+CF) technology. This sophisticated display technology is one of the main reasons for the headset’s high price point.

At Displayweek 2024, both Samsung and LG showcased advancements in OLED microdisplay technology that could appeal to Apple. Samsung presented a 1.03-inch RGB (direct-emission) OLED microdisplay, developed in collaboration with eMagin, which promises higher brightness levels compared to the wOLED+CF method. Meanwhile, LG revealed a 10,000 nits 1.3-inch 4K OLED microdisplay, utilizing a micro lens array (MLA) to boost brightness by around 40 percent.

Apple’s interest in larger OLEDoS panels with lower resolution than those used in the Vision Pro suggests these could be intended for a new, lower-cost mixed reality headset. Apple has been rumored to be working on such a device for over a year, and the latest indications suggest that it may be designed to tether to an iPhone or Mac to eliminate the need for a costly processor. The lower-cost Apple Vision headset could launch as soon as the end of next year.

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