You may be aware, and you may even care, that Apple is working on a VR headset design. Why should we care? Well, according to a ‘reliable analyst’ talking to 9to5Mac (via KitGuru) the device may end up weighing just 5.2oz (150g).
Not only is that lighter than your average, grocery-store apple, it’s heaps lighter than current VR and Mixed reality headsets on the market. It’s even lighter than the iPhone 12—which weighs 5.8oz (164g). If these rumours are anything to go by, this headset could be the lightest, and potentially the highest resolution VR headset of all time.
The estimate comes from Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, in a research note shown to 9to5Mac, who explains that the device’s miniscule weight is thanks to it’s ultra-short focal length lenses.
Fresnel’s hybrid, ultra-short focal length lenses will bring improved field of view to the world of Apple VR, and will be made of plastic instead of glass, to greatly improve their contribution to the devices weight. There’s no word on durability yet, but the main caveat comes in the form of an inherent reduction in brightness caused by these new lenses. Kuo notes that this will be counteracted by the company’s use of Micro-OLED displays.
The headset it described by Kuo as having “sleek, curved visor attached to the face by a mesh material and swappable headbands.” Other features expected from this potentially sub-5oz mixed reality headset design include advanced eye tracking, intuitive operation methods, 15 built in camera modules and the possibility of the Micro-OLED displays clocking in at 8k each.
That would be an incredible feat if the company can figure out how to viably pull it off, especially in that kind of weight-class. The heft of modern virtual reality headsets is a major burden for long term users. The Oculus Quest 2 is relatively light for a head-mounted display at around 500g, but is still uncomfortable with the original strap after a while. The Valve Index is far heavier, clocking in at around 800g, but the weight distribution and smart headband design helps there.
But if we’re talking about a headset some 80 percent lighter than that it’s going to be a far more comfortable fit than either of the best VR headsets the PC can offer.
Despite its size, the likelihood of all this Apple VR tech coming for less than $1,000 is low, and rumours place the release date for the lightweight VR headset somewhere in 2022, so there’s a while to wait yet.