Apple VR/AR headset might pack more screens than people have eyes

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This Apple VR headset concept
The Apple VR/AR headset is only a concept now, but details keep leaking out.
Concept: Antonio De Rosa

Apple’s upcoming virtual reality and augmented reality headset will have three displays, according to a new report by display-industry analysts. They also have a prediction for what the third screen will be used for.

Rumors indicate the VR/AR headset finally will surface in 2022.

Apple VR/AR headset will come packed with features

Display Supply Chain Consultants made a series of predictions about their industry in 2022. The Apple VR/AR headset appears prominently. “We predict that Apple’s headset will have an innovative display configuration, with three display modules: two Micro OLED displays and one AMOLED panel,” says the report.

The experts speculate that the two Micro OLED screens will have 4K resolution. As for the third display, “one possibility is that Apple will use the AMOLED panel for low-resolution peripheral vision, thereby enabling a foveated display system,” according to DSCC. If true, it would solve a limitation of current VR headsets: tunnel vision.

Wikipedia defines “foveated imaging” like this: “Foveated imaging is a digital image processing technique in which the image resolution, or amount of detail, varies across the image according to one or more ‘fixation points.’ A fixation point indicates the highest resolution region of the image and corresponds to the center of the eye’s retina, the fovea.”

The analysts expect the Apple VR/AR headset to contain cutting-edge technology — with a price to match.

“We can expect the Apple headset to cost several thousand dollars,” noted the DSCC analysts. (That’s been rumored before.) “Our assumption is that the first-generation headset will be a high-end device targeted at professionals and developers to expand Apple’s ecosystem in AR/VR.”

Previous rumors

Details on the potential VR/AR headset have been leaking out for many months. Apple is apparently developing a device without as much bulk as its rivals, despite the top-tier feature set. The headset supposedly be powered by a chip on par with the Apple M1 in processing performance. Many types of sensors will detect the wearer’s surroundings and body motions.

Speculation points to Apple unveiling its VR/AR headset during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but not delivering it to customers until several months later.  That would buy time for third-party developers to write software for the product.

As DSCC notes, the headset supposedly will offer virtual reality and augmented reality. AR overlays computer-generated images or text onto the real world. It’s different from virtual reality, which completely replaces the real world.