The Apple Vision Pro display will remain the key issue behind its lower production rate until Korean display makers enter the Supply Chain
This morning we reported that the Apple Vision Pro headset roll out would be very slow due to the fact that customers will have to sign up for an appointment to fit the headset right for customers and be trained in how to use visionOS. This would in-part explain the news by the Financial Times this week that the suppliers of Apple's headset would only produce 400,000 units in 2024.
Today, The Financial Times adds new information to their original report. The new report notes that "While the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays used in high-end smartphones are deposited on a glass substrate, micro OLED display materials are deposited on a silicon wafer more commonly used for the production of semiconductors. This ramps up the cost of the silicon wafer as the challenge of manufacturing a product that can be ruined by tiny specks of dust entering during the manufacturing process, and the fact that no company has yet started mass production.
The total cost for two micro OLED displays — one for each eye — in an Apple Vision Pro is estimated by Eric Chiou, senior research vice-president at TrendForce, at $700, almost half of the manufacturing cost of a product that is due to retail at $3,499 when it is released in the US early next year.
Sony is reportedly reluctant to ramp up production of the displays, amid scepticism about the future growth prospects of the mixed-reality headset market.
Terushi Shimizu, head of Sony’s semiconductor unit. "We will be watching to see how much demand [for micro OLED displays] will increase. I don’t think we will be aggressive in producing the displays at the same scale as the image sensors it supplies for smartphone cameras."
In April, The Elec revealed that Sony could be the sole supplier of OLEDoS displays for years due to the delays in production by both LG and Samsung. So supply constraints could linger unless the Korean display makers step up their schedules.
The Financial Times added that "China-based SeeYA has also sent Apple multiple prototypes of its micro OLED displays, according to two people familiar with the situation. Apple has engaged with the group, sending employees to work with SeeYA and giving feedback on the samples, said two people close to Apple."
Patently Apple reported back in mid-June that Sony could produce up to 200,000 OLEDoS displays per quarter and that while Apple could use other manufacturers of OLEDoS, such as SeeYa Technology, it was highly unlikely that Apple would use them. The Financial Times report this morning would suggest that Apple is looking at a back-up plan.
For more on this, read the full second report by the Financial Times.