As Apple prepares to open pre-orders for the Vision Pro, TrendForce reports that this device is a key strategic move by Apple to expand the virtual head-mounted device market and to mark its entry into the VR/AR market as a pioneer in technological innovation. If initial sales are strong, Vision Pro shipments could reach between 500–600 thousand units in 2024.
Following the Vision Pro’s debut, the spotlight is on spatial computing—a groundbreaking feature that allows users to engage with virtual objects in a manner that feels as natural as reality. This technological leap forward is not just a win for Apple; it’s a trendsetter in the industry.
The concept of spatial computing was also echoed at CES 2024, with companies like Sony announcing their XR head-mounted device focused on intuitive spatial content creation and interaction, and others like Qualcomm, HTC, Asus, JORJIN, and RayNeo showcasing their VR/AR products, potentially heated by industry anticipation of Vision Pro.
Apple Vision Pro is expected to overcome challenges in battery life and application integration
The main issues impacting the Vision Pro are battery life, limited applications, and a hefty price tag. However, some of these bottlenecks are likely to be resolved. Although the Vision Pro requires an external power source or a portable battery, its focus isn’t on gaming and users do not need significant mobility, making external power sources a feasible option. The portable battery offers a comparable two-hour lifespan to current mainstream VR devices.
Post-launch, Apple has facilitated application development for Vision Pro by releasing a suite of developer tools and compatibility assessment platforms. This initiative ensures that existing applications can be effortlessly adapted to the new platform, virtually eliminating any barriers for Apple developers to innovate and create new services. Leveraging tools like UEVR, which enables the conversion of traditional games into VR formats, a broad spectrum of applications is anticipated to emerge, further reinforced by Apple's robust brand presence.
In terms of pricing, the $3499 price point, although seemingly steep, is expected to resonate with the market, especially given the promise of ample applications, a quality user experience, and Apple's established brand loyalty. Additionally, should Apple introduce a more budget-friendly version as speculated, the premium pricing of the Vision Pro could serve to accentuate the value proposition of the more economical model, potentially driving consumer interest towards it.
Chinese Micro OLED giant SeeYA poised to join Apple’s supply chain
For the Vision Pro—a mixed reality spatial computing device—high-resolution and refresh rate displays are essential for enhancing the immersive experience and preventing users from noticing pixilation. There are two main technological directions for Micro OLED: One uses white light OLED with color filters (WOLED), which, despite its high resolution (exceeding 4000 PPI as demonstrated by Sony in 2018), leads to significant loss in brightness.
The other method involves direct deposition of RGB pixels, improving brightness but lagging in resolution competition due to FMM limitations. Samsung-acquired eMagin uses SiN shadow mask (SNM) to achieve 2645 PPI, and FMM developer APS is using Laser Patterning technology, aiming to reach 4000 PPI by 2024.
The Micro OLED display used in Vision Pro, currently supplied exclusively by TSMC CMOS backplanes in combination with Sony’s deposition process, faces a production yield rate of only about 50%. This low yield contributes to the high cost of US$700 per pair of Micro OLED panels and limits Sony’s actual supply capacity to around 1 million panels this year, underscoring Micro OLED's pivotal role in influencing the cost efficiency and production scalability of Vision Pro.
Consequently, diversifying Micro OLED suppliers has become an urgent focus in Apple’s supply chain strategy. Alongside Sony, Apple is actively exploring partnerships with Chinese Micro OLED giant SeeYA, potentially bringing them on board as a secondary supplier as early as the third quarter of 2024.
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