The Apple Vision Pro is launching soon alongside a brand new kind of wired battery to keep it running. It’s far from an ideal design, but now that the first Apple Vision Pro headsets are out in the world we’ve learned some new details about that particularly annoying design feature. Some of it’s good, and some of it’s bad.
The good news is that the wire connecting the Vision Pro can be removed from the battery pack, with the aid of a basic paper clip or SIM removal tool. However, the cable appears to be another proprietary Apple cable that looks like a chunky version of the Lightning connector.
This design feature was discovered by Ray Wong from Inverse. Wong noted that the cable “popped right out” when he pushed in the SIM removal tool, revealing the new connector in all its glory.
l used a SIM card push pin to "unlock" the cable connected to the Apple Vision Pro battery pack. It popped right out. pic.twitter.com/tShScpMlvrJanuary 31, 2024
This isn’t a Lightning cable, though. Or at least it’s not the type you’d plug into an iPhone 14. This cable appears to have a 12-pin connector, compared to Lighting’s 8 pins, which means it is significantly wider. Wong even posted a comparison of the new cable side by side with Lighting and USB-C just to showcase how big this new connector actually is.
It’s not clear why Apple has adopted a chunky Lighting connector instead of a more standardized USB-C. The conspiratorial part of my brain believes that this could be to stop people using random third-party battery packs to power their Vision Pro headset. That means you’d have to buy replacement cables and batteries from either Apple or an Apple-approved partner.
Official Vision Pro batteries cost $199 a piece, while the charging cables cost $19 for 1 meter and $29 for 2 meters.
People have speculated how the EU might respond to this new kind of cable, considering it already forced Apple to adopt USB-C on the iPhone 15. However, it’s unclear how those rules would even affect the Vision Pro or other kinds of headsets. The rules state that phones have to use USB-C before the end of 2024, while laptops should offer some kind of USB-C charging before Spring 2026.
The Vision Pro is neither of those things and may be exempt from the rules. Assuming, of course, that the headset ever goes on sale in the region. Currently the headset is only available in the United States.
At least having a removable cable means you may not have to buy a whole new battery because the cable broke. Though hopefully the braided design means that won’t happen quite as quickly as it would with a Lightning cable.
It’s just a shame that Apple had to opt for yet another proprietary connector, instead of standardizing like the rest of the industry.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.