More details are emerging about the design of Apple’s highly anticipated mixed reality headset ahead of its anticipated June 5 reveal. Bloombergby Mark Gurman reports that the headset’s external battery — which is designed to sit in the user’s pocket during use — will have a similar design to Apple’s MagSafe iPhone battery and will use a proprietary connector to attach to the headset.
This round connector is said to be magnetic and designed to lock into the headset with a twist during use, preventing it from being accidentally detached. Meanwhile, the other end of the cable is said to be hardwired to the battery pack. The two “are inseparable”, Bloomberg reports. So if this power cable fails, it sounds like there’s no way to replace it without buying a whole new battery pack.
These sound like sensible optimizations for the magnetic connector, as it should be secure enough to withstand the movement associated with a head-mounted display, but also easy to detach and swap when the estimated battery life of the external two-hour pack is empty. (Bloomberg speculates that Apple could sell additional standalone battery packs for exactly this purpose.)
The headset’s battery pack apparently self-charges via USB-C and is described as being the same size as two iPhone 14 Pro Max phones stacked on top of each other.
In addition to this patented power connector, Bloomberg reports that the headset could also have a USB-C connector for handling data. The report doesn’t offer much detail on exactly what kind of data needs to be transferred to the headset, which has been described in the past as a standalone device. Maybe it’s there to help with certain functions, like assisting the headset serve as an external Mac monitor?
While it seems sensible to ship the battery pack with a connector designed specifically for use with headsets, it’s kind of funny to hear that Apple is about to introduce yet another connector type to an ecosystem that already includes Lightning, USB-C, multiple MagSafe variantsand the proprietary power cable the company uses for its Studio Display (which is technically considered not removable). It’s not that I want to be able to connect all of these devices together, but standard interoperable connectors make finding a replacement cable easier if they break over time.