According to a new report from The Information, the Apple AR/VR headset is going to surprise a lot of people – and not necessarily in a good way. If you were hoping for a typically sleek and stylish Apple product, the first-generation headset may not be the best VR headset for you.
There are lots of claims here, but the one I'm most disappointed by is the claim that the headset will have a separate waist-mounted battery pack – and that it'll only deliver two hours before needing recharged or swapped. We already knew that the first-gen headset was mainly for developers, and I think the battery pack is confirmation of that: something for early adopters to endure. Apparently it was featured in original prototypes and then removed, but with the current version the battery pack is back.
What to expect from the Apple AR/VR headset
According to the report, the design is a mix of aluminium, glass and carbon fibre to keep the weight low. There's a small Digital Crown on the side to transition between VR and reality, and Apple has made a range of different headbands.
For those of us who wear glasses, Apple has apparently created magnetically attachable prescription lenses – no doubt with a typically Apple price tag.
One of the most interesting details here is the claim that third-party Bluetooth headphones won't work with the headset, although AirPods Pro 2 and their successors will; the headset has Apple's H2 chip, as do the second-generation Pros. The exclusion of third party earbuds is apparently because Bluetooth is too laggy, and because Apple doesn't want to put a headphone jack on the headset.
I'm still excited about Apple's AR/VR plans in the long term, but from what I'm hearing so far this sounds very similar to the first-generation iPhone or iPad: a device that doesn't really know what it's for just yet, and a device whose hardware and features will seem hopelessly primitive in just a few product generations. I don't think I'll be queuing up for this one; for now, the PSVR 2 sounds like it'll be much more fun – and a lot cheaper too.