At WWDC 2023, Apple is expected to unveil the Apple VR headset – its pricey first foray into the VR space. We’ve previously heard that expensive components are the main reason why the VR headset is expected to be so expensive, but a new report points out that its design has also seen production costs skyrocket – and may also come with some durability issues.
After some unsubtle teasing from Apple (it invited some VR experts to WWDC 2023) and some leaks from top analysts detailing the high-end components of the VR goggles (including dual processors, 12 cameras, and an impressive micro-OLED display), it seems almost certain that the California tech giant will showcase a high-end VR headset at its next conference. Unfortunately, it’s likely to cost an arm and a leg, with the headset reportedly priced at $3,000 (around £2,200 / AU$4,400).
According to a new report from The Information, not only the quality of the components, but also their design contributes to the exorbitant price.
The Information says it has seen some internal Apple renders for the headset that show it has a curved shape to better fit a person’s face. While this would potentially allow the headset to be worn more comfortably – and Apple would reduce its size compared to flatter designs that only curve the face padding – it also means that Apple had to curve the components inside the headset itself.
The report adds that Apple has allegedly come up with dedicated solutions for its headset components to match this design, creating a large curved glass display panel that will apparently sit on the outer surface of the headset and the curved motherboard between other parts. The curvature of these typically flat elements made the design process more complex than for a standard headset, and therefore also more costly.
Moreover, while the curved design may seem to have some advantages, it may have one serious disadvantage: fragility.
Delicate, handle with care
Things don’t like to be curved – especially the inflexible materials typically used in computer components, such as plastic and glass. This is because bending of components can cause additional stresses and strains, reducing part life and creating weak spots that would not be present in planar structures.
If Apple didn’t include protective measures, the more accident-prone among us might find they need our VR headset for more frequent repairs than non-curved gadgets like the iPhone.
We always recommend handling the technology with care, but if you choose to use Apple’s VR headset, you may want to take extra precautions when putting it on and taking it off. You should also be extra careful when choosing where to play your VR game – anyone using a VR headset will tell you that they’ve banged their hands and head against a strange wall or ceiling before, and you don’t want a minor hit to turn into a major problem when the headset the headset will break.
As with all rumors, we’ll have to wait and see what Apple reveals at WWDC 2023 to know if the curved design will be a real issue or not.
Want to know more about upcoming Apple gadgets? Check out our full rundown of all the Apple VR headset rumors and details we’ve heard.