Cheaper Apple Vision could pack weaker panels

Apple, in response to the limited sales of the expensive Vision Pro headset, is reportedly planning to develop a more affordable version. The high price of $3,500 could be a significant deterrent for potential buyers, overshadowing issues related to weight, comfort, and form factor.

According to The Elec, a Korean publication, Apple has approached manufacturers of small OLED-on-Silicon (OLEDoS) panels for units between 2.0 to 2.1 inches in size with a pixel density of 1,700 pixels per inch (PPI). This would be a significant decrease from the current model’s Sony OLEDoS panels, which measure 1.42 inches with a pixel density of 3,386PPI, resulting in a resolution of 3,660 x 3,200 per eye. The new panels, assuming the same aspect ratio, would have a resolution of approximately 2,600 x 2,300.

This reduced resolution would inevitably lead to less image sharpness, but the resolution would still be higher than competitors like the Meta Quest 3 and Sony’s PSVR 2. The report also suggests potential partners for the new panels, including LG and Samsung. However, Samsung is reportedly pushing Apple towards a technology that uses RGB pixels in the OLED panel for higher brightness levels.

With Apple’s Vision Pro emphasizing the ‘Pro’ part of its name, the upcoming cheaper headset might simply be called “Apple Vision”. Lowering the resolution and tethering to other Apple hardware seem like practical steps to lower the price. However, with Meta’s Quest 3 priced at a seventh of the Vision Pro and rumors of a cheaper Meta headset, Apple may never be the affordable option in the virtual reality market.

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