Apple is rumored to introduce its long-awaited mixed reality headset during the WWDC 2023 keynote on June 5. While reports suggest that the so-called Reality Pro headset unveiling is a sure thing, a story by The Information (via 9to5Mac) shows how challenging it has been to produce this device.
According to the publication, the mixed-reality headset has an “unconventional curved design, thinness, and ultralight weight,” which explains why it is expected to cost around $3,000. The curved glass with edges wrapped in a smooth aluminum frame supposedly appears slightly thicker than an iPhone and could bring a durability issue as it has been difficult to balance the curved glass thickness and weight.
To design this device, Apple had to bend a motherboard to “fit inside the headset’s curved outer shell – the first of its kind for Apple – along with solutions for fitting the headset’s lenses and displays into its thin frame.”
People familiar with the headset’s manufacturing also say its “curvature and densely packed electronics have made life difficult for assembly workers because they have little room to maneuver tools and have to install components at awkward angles. Most Apple products, including the headset, are largely assembled by hand.”
The publication also reports the look of the device. It will have a Digital Crown-like dial above the right eye, allowing users to transition between AR and VR, with a power button above the left eye. A round connector similar to the Apple Watch charger attaches to the headset’s left size to the rumored waist-mounted battery pack.
At an earlier stage in development, Apple made 100 headsets a day, although only 20 units met the company’s standards. Interestingly enough, by mid-April, when the device was on Design Validation Testing, Apple still made some design tweaks to make it easier to manufacture.
Luxshare, the sole manufacturer of the mixed-reality headset, has told its workers that it plans to start mass production by July, with a release date expected between fall and winter. That said, it would be surprising if Apple could present a working headset by Monday – and more interestingly if the developers and journalists are able to try a first hands-on of the product right away.