Apple's AR glasses — not to be confused with the Cupertino-based tech giant's alleged VR headset project — is a head-mounted display that's long-rumored to hit store shelves within a couple of years.
- Apple Glass: Release date, design, features, price and more
- Apple VR headset: Rumors, release date, price specs and what we expect
Apple is teaming up with TSMC for its AR glasses
Apple is allegedly strengthening its ties with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) to produce micro OLED displays for its highly anticipated AR glasses.
According to Nikkei Asia, the two conglomerates plan are working on the AR project in an ultra-secret, Taiwan-based facility to produce these avant-garde screens.
You may be wondering, "Why is Apple partnering with TSMC for displays? Isn't that a chip manufacturer?" That's a good question. As it turns out, Apple's micro OLED displays will not be built on glass material like traditional LCD screens in TVs and smartphones. Instead, the micro OLED displays will be produced with chip wafers, which are what semiconductors are built on. This process allows the micro OLED displays to be ultra-thin and lightweight while offering more power efficiency and higher resolution, making them optimal for AR glasses.
"Panel players are good at making screens bigger and bigger, but when it comes to thin and light devices like AR glasses, you need a very small screen," a source close to the matter said. "Apple is partnering with TSMC to develop the technology because the chipmaker's expertise is making things ultra-small and good, while Apple is also leveraging panel experts' know-how on display technologies."
As the Cupertino-based tech giant cuts its Intel umbilical cord to focus on producing ARM-based M1 processors, TSMC is still a surviving Apple supplier that builds chips for the company's products, including the iPhone 12's A14 Bionic chip.
Apple's micro OLED project is reportedly in the trial-production stage as we speak; it will take several years before progressing the display to the mass-production stage.