An Apple VR/AR headset is likely coming this year — with a possible preview during this year’s WWDC according to some rumors. But we still don’t really have an idea what the headset looks like.
Well, we still don’t know what the outside of the headset looks like, but we now have an idea of what some of the internal components could be. As reported by several outlets, Twitter user MrWhite128 (opens in new tab) posted leaked photos of what could be internal components of the new Apple mixed reality headset. Their account is protected, so the tweet can only be viewed by those who follow MrWhite128, but other Twitter accounts such have AppleTrack (opens in new tab) have also shared the leaked images.
Of course, we don’t really know any more about how the Apple headset — sometimes dubbed the Apple Reality Pro — will be constructed based on these photos. However, the shape of the components indicates that they could be used for a virtual reality or mixed reality headset.
The first image shown above features a pair of ribbon cables that appear to be shaped to contour around a user's eyes and could possibly connect the headset’s display to a circuit board. The second image below shows a pair of ribbon cables that each host an array of three sensors or cameras.
Now, these leaks should be taken with a serious grain of salt. In fact, consult your doctor before consuming the amount of salt you’ll need to swallow this information. The Twitter user MrWhite128 never explicitly states that these components are for the Apple VR/AR headset — they’re just accompanied by the smiling face with sunglasses emoji. So conclusions that these are Apple headset components are largely drawn from the shape of the first set of ribbon cables.
However, there are other red flags as well. In the comments of a MacRumors (opens in new tab) article on the leaked components, a user noted that the sensor/camera array cable is in fact from a HomePod, where it functions as part of the microphone setup. The same claim is made in the comments of an AppleInsider (opens in new tab) article and further investigation does show a ribbon cable that looks like the sensor array in an iFixit (opens in new tab) teardown of the Apple HomePod.
It’s not impossible that Apple found a way to use this cable in multiple products. In fact, it could likely save the company some money if they did. But there’s enough here that has me skeptical that these are genuine Apple Reality Pro parts. We won’t know for sure until the headset is available for purchase and someone has the courage to tear apart the potentially $3,000 VR headset.