Apple AR/VR headset reportedly has a separate battery pack

apple mixed reality headset render
(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

More Apple AR/VR headset features have been tipped in a paywalled report from The Information (opens in new tab). While the article admits that the headset's currently going through engineering validation to finalize the design, and therefore that the features are still not set in stone, it gives us some interesting insight into how Apple's overcoming the challenges of making its first virtual/augmented reality headset.

For instance, the headset will reportedly feature a dial control to move between full VR and AR pass-through modes. As a mixed reality headset, we were curious how Apple would negotiate switching modes, and a physical switch seems a neat solution to the problem.

Another issue to address is making sure users can see what's on the headset's internal displays, accounting for their individual vision needs. The Information reports that Apple is fitting motorized lenses to the headset, to automatically adjust for a wearer in the background. Hopefully there will still be manual adjustment too, though.

A separate battery pack?

For power, the headset apparently uses a separate battery pack that's then attached with a cable. The power source isn't built into the headset itself like rival products such as the Meta Quest 2 or Meta Quest Pro, something that would make the Apple headset lighter to wear but would also make it less streamlined to use.

We've heard lots of different rumors about the Apple AR/VR headset over the past couple of years. It seems well established by now that the headset could use dual 4K micro-LED displays, a unique outer display to show the user's face to others, AirPods integration for when using the inbuilt speakers aren't appropriate (although currently only for models with the H2 chip, like the AirPods Pro 2) and an Apple M2 chip running the show.

For the privilege of using this headset, expect to pay around $3,000. Users who find that price too high, which is likely most of us, might be better off waiting for the rumored Apple Glasses that'll offer some of the same functions but in a much cheaper format.

The Apple AR/VR headset is still thought to be coming in 2023, possibly towards the end of the year. As Apple's first all-new product in several years, expect a big announcement event to show it off, whenever that ends up being.

Richard Priday
Senior Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide senior writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.