Apple is hosting what promises to be its big iPhone 13 event today. While we’re once again holding out hope for that ‘one more thing’ to see if the company reveals anything about its upcoming AR or VR wearables, it seems a supply chain rumor contends that Apple’s alleged VR headset may be gearing up to sport a microOLED display with a pretty high pixel density.

Apple has a tight reign on internal leaks, which typically force tech pundits to look at the greater supply chain to get an idea of where the Cupertino tech giant is headed next. That typically also means you’ll have to take whatever pops out of those rumors with a big grain of salt.

Just this year multiple reports have maintained that Apple’s long-rumored VR headset may arrive as early as 2022, cost $3,000, and include limited AR capabilities, something that’s said to act as a precursor to a full-fledged AR device.

Korean publication The Elec is now reporting that Apple has requested a sample of a display component called a fine metal mask (FMM) from the South Korean company APS Holdings, something that’s used for depositing organic RGB material onto OLED displays. The type allegedly requested by Apple is supposed to reach a pixel density of 3,000ppi.

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It’s not unusual for micro displays to features pixel densities of that size, so the notable bit here is Apple may be looking to maintain a slim and light profile for its VR headset, which may depart from the high resolution smartphone-size displays used in current consumer VR headsets.

Apple intends on testing the FMM sample, and then forming a more concrete plant for the VR device’s development, The Elec maintains in its report.

Japan’s Dai Nippon Printing is widely considered the number one manufacture of the sort of FMM (Gen 6) reportedly requested by Apple, however these are produced using a process called ‘wet etching’. It’s thought that Apple instead wanted a laser patterning FMM from ABS Holding, as laser drilling the holes “will make 3000ppi more achievable,” The Elec reports.

We’ll be watching the Apple event today and keeping our eyes peeled for AR/VR news. You can follow along live here on YouTube.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Very exciting, never-heard-of-before display tech news!
    But ever since I first heard about AppleVR, the rumor was
    that it wouldn’t use screens at all, at *whatever* rez.
    It would, instead, laser project the image directly onto your eye.
    In fact, a few years ago there was a true news story about an Apple employee
    who was admitted to a hospital with some kind of laser burns to her eyes
    that she aquired while she was testing some unknown Apple device ….

    • kontis

      VRDs are nothing new, they are decades old. Even Palmer Luckey damaged his eyes with retinal laser projection when he was still in VR research.

      Their biggest problem is identical to screens with lenses – they cannot bend photons, so FOV is directly corelated with the size of the eye piece. In other words: if you want large FOV you still need large bulky headset, even if it uses lasers.

    • SparkMcSparkson

      good god the fans are running on full blast today, huh? HMD/VRD/ALL OF IT is 40+ years old. You’re made up story about laser burns is interesting though.. Love them on one hand, smack VR with the other. Cool.

    • dk

      u r mixing up baseless rumors about glasses ….this will be the Lynx headset form factor

    • Jistuce

      Laser burns on her eyes? Are you telling me that Apple’s engineers on both the hardware and software side are so inept that they can accidentally burn someone’s eyes while testing a device that shouldn’t be physically capable of outputting a full milliwatt of laser energy?

      Because that sounds depressingly believable, actually.

  • kontis

    Only 3K PPI?
    Why so low, Apple?

    Sony HMZ headset had 2098 PPI MicroOLEDS in 2011, so only 30% worse a decade ago.

    Let’s not forget why Sony did NOT use their amazing MicroOLED headset for PSVR and instead opted for cloning Rift with much, much worse PPI. That’s because MicroOLEDs cannot be made in a size large enough for a decent FOV that is necessary for VR.

    Don’t tell me Apple is going to repeat the same mistakes this industry was making for 20 years, which resulted in a teenager in a garage disrupting it and becoming a billionaire.

    • tvatson

      From what I see in this sensationalist article, they took the article from PatentlyApple which was already sensationalist (describing experimenting with a display technology as a whole display) and made a stretch that the technology Apple is experimenting with may be used with the rumored headset they have apparently been working on long before this. I don’t think there’s any evidence for that.

      I guess the huge assumption here is that Apple can improve microdisplay yield and price so much that it can be used on a much larger VR display, at least a 3000 USD one. Basically what others like eMagin have been trying to do for years and what few years ago Palmer said is unlikely to happen then.

      However this is Apple, they test everything they can because they can. Jumping to assumptions that it will be used inside a rumored product is a bad idea because there’s enough evidence that any other display technology will, for the same reason. Unless you’re a reddit investor, you should spare your time on such assumptions.

      • David Wilhelm

        You would use this type of display with a waveguide or other optic, not make a full size 3000 dpi display to then put a pair or fresnels in front of.

        • tvatson

          Not according to the VR + camera headset rumors where 8K per eye was mentioned

    • ZeePee

      Say hello to pancake optics with 100° FoV ;)

  • xyzs

    Let’s wait and see.
    For now, we see nothing.

    Guessing a futur hypothetical product and its ppi data based on a company that would have been contacted by Apple for a device that would allow up to x ppi manufacturing capability by a guy that would have the info from the second company…
    damn that’s the road to gossip.

  • Apple has done nothing that has excited me since Jobs died. I shall not get my hopes up for it doing anything special here either.

    • Jistuce

      Personally, I think every good Apple product ever made has Wozniak’s fingerprints in it.

  • AAAAAAAAAND there have been no XR news at Apple Event

    • Bob

      Apple is like that one band which continue to rehash their classic hits over and over and over again. Until the end of time.

  • GordonFreeman

    Overpriced locked in crap from Apple as always, no change there!

  • Sky Castle

    Not excited by anything coming from Apple. Even if they pull this off this just means a new set of exclusive games from Apple.

    • Blaexe

      There’s no indication that the headset is aimed at gamers in the first place.

  • tomchall


    • John Doe

      go play your games, nerd