The Apple Vision Pro has two large obstacles to overcome before it finds a place in most homes across America: price and battery. The first will come down over time and the second is, apparently, already being looked at.
Not only is having a tethered battery a slightly awkward way of making the headset part lighter (and an ineffective one, based on early reports of the Vision Pro's weight problem), but Apple says it will only provide two hours of usage if you need to be mobile. That puts it on par with many of the best VR headsets on the market, but it's still less than optimal for long-term wear.
The advantage of an external battery, however, is that (in theory) you could pick a capacity to match your needs. Will you only need it for a quick burst? Something small and light would be ideal. But if you’re working on a lengthy project, you might want something more heavy-duty to go the distance.
While Apple hasn’t suggested it will easily allow battery swaps — let alone third-party cells — Twitter user @aaronp613 spotted something interesting. When Apple rolled out the backend for Vision Pro to receive firmware updates, three different model numbers were listed: A2781, A2988 and A2697.
The Apple Vision Pro battery has a model number of A2781.The firmware released last night references 2 other Vision Pro battery models: A2988 & A2697 https://t.co/NyDSz6ylTnJuly 21, 2023
Could this mean Apple is planning three different sizes to allow users to pick and choose? Maybe. But equally, maybe not.
What’s in a number?
It’s certainly possible that Apple is planning different battery packs for the Vision Pro. The company does like selling accessories, after all.
But if that is the case, then bear in mind that other batteries are likely to be smaller, not larger. It just wouldn’t make sense for Apple not to boast about the best possible battery life when announcing it, in much the same way that the company talks about the most expensive configurations of Macs when boasting about speed. Still, if your concern is primarily about comfort, then a smaller battery option might be welcome if it’s on the table.
There’s another possibility that doesn’t relate to capacity at all, however. The battery model numbers could correspond to batteries for different regions, as international standards on these things sometimes differ.
There’s a weakness in that explanation, though: The Apple Vision Pro has currently only been confirmed for a United States release early next year. The next territories in line are rumored to be the United Kingdom and Canada, but that apparently won’t be until later in 2024. As the exact international rollout is reportedly still under discussion, would Apple really be forward-thinking enough to have different region-specific battery configurations confirmed at launch?
We’ll find out early next year when Apple Vision Pro becomes available to Americans with $3,500 burning a hole in their pockets. Anyone keen to be an early adopter won’t be able to just walk into a store and buy one, however: Apple will apparently require an appointment so it fits just right.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.