Apple’s first-generation head-mounted wearable device is yet to become a reality, but the display supply chain industry is already prepping for the second-gen mixed reality headset. According to a report from The Elec, LG’s display division is already making preparations for supplying OLED panels for Apple’s first-gen wearable and micro-OLED display units for the next iteration.
However, the OLED display panels that LG is reportedly gearing up to manufacture reportedly won’t serve as the main visual output on Apple’s device. Instead, it will go towards making what the report calls an “indicator” screen that will sit on the outside. There is no word about what this outer OLED screen will do, but the term indicator does provide a clue about its utility. According to a report from The Information, the headset is said to feature 14 cameras, which means one or more of these units could also be used for video capture.
The latter raises privacy concerns, especially for people in the frame who are at the risk of being video recorded without their explicit consent. An indicator display could serve, well, as an indicator for people that they are being photographed or captured in a video using Apple’s MR headset. Apple appears to be tackling a problem that Google Glass missed, at least based on the leak, one that led to the premature demise of a very promising product.
Shielding itself from a privacy storm
While Google’s sketchy track record with privacy was a bit concerning, the bigger problem was having to trust that the person wearing the camera-toting glasses would respect the privacy of those around them. Even Google recognized the term “Glasshole,” which referred to a person who covertly recorded other people using Google Glass. The company also had to release a set of “Do’s and Don’ts” that served as a code of conduct for those lucky enough to get their hands on the hot piece of tech. Such was the negative frenzy that folks wearing the $1,500 piece of wearable tech were barred from bars, casinos, restaurants, and movie theaters.
According to a report from The Los Angeles Times, a woman was even attacked for wearing one to a pub — but that was over half a decade ago. The world has since warmed up to the idea of head-mounted wearables with cameras, but the privacy concerns have also gone up as the metaverse looms ahead. Facebook’s stylish Ray-Ban Stories have already courted backlash for the tiny white LED indicator on the camera-equipped glasses. Apple with its ambitious mixed reality headset might save itself a privacy furor with an indicator display large enough to be easily noticeable to those in the cameras’ view.