Apple Glass could use Sony OLED screens for amazing AR

Apple Glass concept
(Image credit: idropnews/Martin Hajek)

Apple's long-rumored Apple Glass headset is still some way from being on early adopters’ faces, with reports suggesting anywhere between next spring and 2023, but the wearable is gradually taking shape. 

In fact, we may now have our first look at some of the spectacles’ specs thanks to Ross Young, founder and CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants.

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“We have heard from multiple sources that Apple is pursuing AR/VR glasses using Sony microOLEDs,” he tweeted. “0.5", 1280x960 resolution, 1H'22 intro. Thoughts?” He later clarified that the Sony part would be for AR only. “It will use projection optics inside the glasses.”  

As AppleInsider notes, Sony’s website has a product that seems to match Young’s description. The ECX337A model has a 100,000:1 contrast ratio with a max brightness of 1,000cd/m2, and the company does indeed highlight its potential with AR and VR. 

Sony itself is no stranger to products in that category — not just with PlayStation VR, but the Personal 3D viewer, which has separate OLED displays for viewing content in the same way we imagine Apple Glass will. 

Young himself has a decent track record of leaks like this — and especially when it comes to Apple screen tech. He was one of the earliest voices predicting that there would be no 120Hz screen for the iPhone 12 (but good news, Apple fans: he’s predicting there will be dynamic refresh rates for the iPhone 13.)

As for Apple Glass, it remains a fairly nebulous product, with only a series of interesting patents tracking what it may and may not do. 

We know, for example, that Apple has been trying to crack the tough nut of how to track eye movements without cameras to save on battery life. The glasses also have some possibly potentially neat functionality related to navigation — including one leftfield idea of using subtle audio cues to hint at which direction you should be heading towards. The most recent patent we’ve seen relates to product comparison, letting you pick up two products in a store and having details overlaid for each.  

Whether these ideas ever show up in Apple Glass — or indeed any other commercially available Apple product — isn’t set in stone. The company patents a lot of things, and not all of them are obviously utilized. But we do know that CEO Tim Cook is a big believer in the future of AR, with him once calling the technology “the next big thing, and it will pervade our entire lives.” 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.