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Apple is reportedly developing ultra-thin micro OLED screens for use in AR devices

Apple reportedly developing ultra-thin micro OLED screens for use in AR devices
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's rumoured augmented reality headset is looking more probable by the day. According to Nikkei, the Cupertino firm has teamed up with display maker TSMC to develop micro OLED and microLED screens, the former of which could be used in such a product.

Crucially, we're not talking TVs here: these micro OLED screens are less than one inch in size, ultra thin and highly energy efficient, making them ideal for use in AR glasses.  

These screens are also built directly onto chip wafers rather than glass, as is the way with traditional LCD and OLED TVs. This means Apple can use TSMC's existing production equipment.

Production is reportedly taking place at a lab in Taiwan and is still in trial stages. This means it could take several years to reach mass production, but it's further evidence that Apple is interested in dipping its toes into the augmented and virtual reality headgear market.

Last month, it was reported that Apple is developing both augmented reality (AR) glasses and a virtual reality (VR) headset. According to Bloomberg, the VR headset could launch as soon as next year, while the AR glasses are a bit further down the line – 2023, or thereabouts.

So what of the microLED screens also reportedly in production? These are self-emissive panels, which use miniature LEDs instead of a separate backlight. They could eventually be used in products like the Apple Watch, iPad, and MacBooks. 

Samsung announced its first microLED TV would go on sale in 2021, but at 110in it won't be for everyone, and neither will be the reported, circa £70,000 ($90,000, AU$125,000) price tag.


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