Apple mixed reality headset could be so powerful it needs a 96W MacBook charger

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

The Apple mixed reality headset is expected to launch sometime this year, and we’ve already had a steady stream of rumors and reports that give us an idea of what to expect. The latest comes from Ming-Chi Kuo, who’s been a constant source of information about the device.

According to Kuo (via 9to5Mac) the Apple mixed reality headset is set to come with the same 96W charger as the 14-inch MacBook Pro. Obviously Apple wouldn’t ship a device with such a powerful charger if it didn’t need it — meaning the headset may be a real powerhouse.

According to Kuo the charger is shipping because the headset’s CPU and GPU have rather high power demands. That naturally leads to more power being consumed. A 96W charger would likely offer much faster recharging times to account for this, and ensure the headset is back up and running quickly.

That doesn’t give us high hopes for the headset’s battery life, unfortunately. However, it may explain reports that Apple isn’t positioning its headset as an all-day metaverse ready headset, and is rather opting for more short-term use. You can’t use a wireless headset all day if the battery only lasts a couple of hours.

Kuo has already predicted that Apple will offer Mac-tier performance in its headset. The Information previously asserted that it would include Apple’s “most advanced and powerful chips.” At the moment that would be the M1 Max, which is available as an optional upgrade for the 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops.

But we have been hearing rumors about the upcoming Apple M2 chip, expected to arrive with the 2022 MacBook Pro refresh. Though it hasn’t been revealed how powerful the chip is, and how it compares to the M1 Max remains to be seen. Plus we still don’t know for sure whether Apple really does want the headset’s hardware to emphasise power above all else.

Needless to say, if Kuo is right with his previous assertions, the Apple headset is going to be a big step above the iPhone or iPad. The fact it’s not expected to come with a 96W charger would help corroborate that. For reference the iPhone 13 and iPad Pro all support up to 20W charging speeds.

The Apple mixed reality headset is expected to launch later this year, with the latest rumors predicting a Q4 launch — which may place it somewhere around the launch of the iPhone 14. However, you may not have the cash to buy one, since this is expected to be a very premium device. Early rumors predicted prices ranging from $1,000 all the way to $3,000.

Why would Apple release a headset for VR, something that’s still fairly niche among the general population, and then price them out? Word is that the headset is actually a precursor to the augmented reality Apple Glasses, and is designed to ensure developers have ample time to adjust to developing apps for AR. Getting the public on board with the idea, even in limited quantities, would just be an extra bonus.

We’ll bring you more on the Apple mixed reality headset as we hear it.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

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.