After years of rumors, Apple’s long-awaited mixed-reality VR headset is likely getting announced in June. And with the launch event potentially coming, we’re getting more details about the design and how it’ll fix some of VR’s biggest problems.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has shared several details about the product over the last year or so, and his latest report is rather interesting. Not only does Apple plan to pack the headset with a slew of features to appeal to a wide array of users, but it’s taking a unique approach to the headset’s weight.
According to Gurman, Apple’s upcoming “Reality Pro” VR headset doesn’t have an integrated battery. Instead, it’ll have an external wired battery pack you’ll put in your pocket. That battery will keep things incredibly lightweight and comfortable, but it could also be awkward with a wire running up to a magnetic plug on the headset.
As we all know, weight is a big problem with AR/VR gear. HTC’s new Vive Elite VR shoves the battery behind the headset in the headband to help balance things out. However, if the latest reports are accurate, Apple has a far more awkward solution to that problem.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of moving key components away from the headset to improve weight and comfort. Qualcomm has shown off similar ideas, and the battery is likely the most significant factor when it comes to weight, so this makes sense.
The report mentions Apple’s plan to use a battery pack as thick as two iPhones, with an integrated (non-removable) cable that runs up to a proprietary MagSafe-style plug on the headset. The circular magnetic connector twists and locks into place, that way, it can’t easily pop off, but it is a proprietary cable, making things more complicated than necessary.
But it wouldn’t be a new product from Apple without another proprietary cable, right? It’s also worth mentioning that by using an external battery, Apple likely has more flexibility to improve other on-headset components, like the rumored dual 8K screens inside the headset.
Additionally, Bloomberg reports that the headset could also have a USB-C data connector, which could be used as an input to run content from a MacBook or as a secondary display. We still don’t know anything for sure, but we’re looking forward to learning more at Apple’s WWDC in June.