Heavy Apple Vision Pro leads Apple to lighten future headsets

Posted:
in Apple Vision Pro

The weight of the Apple Vision Pro is an issue that Apple is still working on, a report claims, with future models set to become much lighter.

Apple Vision Pro
Apple Vision Pro



Apple's engineering teams are hard at work preparing the Apple Vision Pro for launch. Though the focus is more on future models than the already-finished first-generation hardware, Apple is still concerned about the weight of its initial release, and how consumers will take it.

Writing in the Bloomberg "Power On" newsletter, Mark Gurman says that the current model is heavy at "about a pound." This weight was apparently shown in testing to be considered "too heavy for some users - even in short stretches," and had also caused neck strain.

The weight issue was also observed by AppleInsider when it tried out the device, with "light neck fatigue" ensured after an hour and a half of use.

For the current model, Apple is considering a fix involving an over-the-head strap, which has surfaced in previous reports. Though Apple can't do much about the current model's weight, other than to try and support it more, the weight is a factor being taken onboard for later models.

As well as weight, Apple may also vary the design to make it more useful for people who wear glasses. The first-gen model was slimmed down and wouldn't work with glasses, and instead relies on magnetic prescription lenses to be installed before use.

Such a system with thousands of interchangeable lens combinations may be a logistical nightmare for future models, as well as making it complex for consumers.

Apple may opt to sell future headsets with prescription lenses pre-installed to simplify usage, but doing so would make the headset less useful for sharing with others, or if the user's vision prescription changes. There are also concerns that providing built-in prescription lenses would make Apple a form of health provider, which introduces various related problems.

Gurman offers that Apple's now-stalled plan for AR glasses could be the way forward since it would be a lightweight piece of hardware that didn't rely on passthrough cameras and VR screens. Theoretically, they could be worn all day.

Doing so will require Apple to increase its development on the AR glasses project, which it may do eventually if the Vision Pro proves popular enough.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    byronlbyronl Posts: 369member
    what about the feature where the headset itself adapts to the user's prescription? apple has a few patents on that. I'm guessing the technology is way off?
  • Reply 2 of 42
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,388member

    The weight of the Apple Vision Pro is an issue that Apple is still working on, a report claims, with future models set to become much lighter.

    Wow, never woulda guessed that. :)
    danoxFileMakerFellermattinoz
  • Reply 3 of 42
    Listen. This shouldn’t be a problem. For 10 years we’ve all been hunched over our phones straining our trapezius, splenius, and rhomboid muscles. We should be strong now. This shouldn’t be a problem. 
    BannedForFreeSpeechKierkegaardenbaconstangbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 42
    XedXed Posts: 2,705member
    Do we have any word on whether the current demoed models are using SS, aluminum or titanium for their frame?

    I imagine that front glass with an outward-facing display adds some weight that many would be fine with dumping, but I understand why Apple wants to make it clear if you're in VR or AR when wearing them around others.
    byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 42
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,907member
    Apple can lighten the unit and slim the bulk considerably via materials change. But that would either a: cost even more to use higher end materials or b: resort to even more cheap plastic. 

    This is and will be a limited niche product in an already limited niche market until Apple finds a way to put this functionality to a standard-looking pair of glasses/sunglasses. 

    The vision pro is a really cool nerd toy that encases your actual noggin. That’s far and away from Apple’s usual ethos of their products getting out of the way and “just works” to enhance your life. The vision pro demands more. 

    A pair of shades on the other hand? That’s like a watch or phone. Everyone has a pair and everyone wears them. Adding AR/VR tech would be the ultimate mass market approach. 

    While the vision pro is amazing for what it is, what is is just isn’t that appealing. 

    The approach is like taking a heavy iPad and strapping it to your wrist, connected to a heart rate monitor on your chest, and wired to sensor/boots on your feet to count steps —- instead of a tiny watch that weighs nothing, doesn’t encumber movement, and has pulse and pedometer tech built in. 

    It’s like a refined beta product. Apple just wants to get this out to recoup the massive R&D spending in the hopes of figuring out an actual Apple way of solving this in the future. And that in and of itself is not very Apple. Strange times. 

    In a few years, when this becomes a sunglasses form factor, I’ll be interested as will the mass market. Until then, we are looking at a market limited to apple fans with expendable income. It should do better than the microcosm of PC centric VR toys, due to Apple’s fan base, but it won’t approach anywhere near Apple Watch levels of the market. 

    Until the until Apple iSight or whatever comes out, looking forward to the advancement of Macs and Apple Silicon to stir things up. 
    designrmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 42
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,408moderator
    Xed said:
    I imagine that front glass with an outward-facing display adds some weight that many would be fine with dumping, but I understand why Apple wants to make it clear if you're in VR or AR when wearing them around others.
    It's also about eye contact. You can have a conversation with someone without taking them off:



    Other VR headsets are completely isolated and need you to take them off when talking to someone:



    This site has a long list of VR headsets:

    https://www.vr-compare.com

    Apple Vision Pro is estimated to weigh around 450g. The BigScreen Beyond VR headset is a very light one at around 115g:

    https://www.vr-compare.com/headset/bigscreenbeyond

    I was hoping Apple's one would be more compact than this but this is just a viewer, no onboard processing. This would be like if they moved the M2 chip (and maybe R1 too) into where the battery pack was:





    This probably wouldn't be possible to do because they'd need to put 12x live 4k+ 90Hz camera streams over the cable and then dual 4k 90Hz back to the displays.

    Reducing Apple Vision Pro's weight will involve redesigning some of the frame, maybe thinner case material or cover glass. The frame is described as using an 'aluminum alloy':

    https://www.apple.com/apple-vision-pro/

    They'll have to go over every piece, every camera, sensor and try to eliminate bulk. It'll be difficult to get 50% of the weight but somewhere between 15-25% is probably doable within a couple of revisions. A different way of head mounting could help it feel less heavy too. Possibly they can change how the front display works from a lenticular lens to projection or ridged OLED display surface:

    https://displaydaily.com/apple-receives-patent-for-lenticular-lens-display-technology/
    edited October 2023 danoxBannedForFreeSpeechwilliamlondonFileMakerFellerbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 42
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,108member
    The first step is to design something that people actually want to use. The weight is immaterial, and up to this point no one has designed anything that remotely works, I think the Apple Vision Pro will be the first one, Apple has laid all the groundwork to make it a success the rest of the competition are in trouble.

    Apples device will show all the strengths of being a vertical computer company, and what that can mean in terms of functionality, design, and engineering combined with an ecosystem to backup the hardware.

    And yes, the second and third generations will be lighter, but the Apple Vision Pro won’t be significantly cheaper, in short it will never be under 2000 dollars.
    KierkegaardenwilliamlondonFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 42
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    Listen. This shouldn’t be a problem. For 10 years we’ve all been hunched over our phones straining our trapezius, splenius, and rhomboid muscles. We should be strong now. This shouldn’t be a problem. 
    Yeah, sitting hunched over texting really builds up muscles!
    Said no one ever.
    M68000watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 42
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    Marvin said:
    Xed said:
    I imagine that front glass with an outward-facing display adds some weight that many would be fine with dumping, but I understand why Apple wants to make it clear if you're in VR or AR when wearing them around others.
    It's also about eye contact. You can have a conversation with someone without taking them off:



    Other VR headsets are completely isolated and need you to take them off when talking to someone:



    This site has a long list of VR headsets:

    https://www.vr-compare.com

    Apple Vision Pro is estimated to weigh around 450g. The BigScreen Beyond VR headset is a very light one at around 115g:

    https://www.vr-compare.com/headset/bigscreenbeyond

    I was hoping Apple's one would be more compact than this but this is just a viewer, no onboard processing. This would be like if they moved the M2 chip (and maybe R1 too) into where the battery pack was:





    This probably wouldn't be possible to do because they'd need to put 12x live 4k+ 90Hz camera streams over the cable and then dual 4k 90Hz back to the displays.

    Reducing Apple Vision Pro's weight will involve redesigning some of the frame, maybe thinner case material or cover glass. The frame is described as using an 'aluminum alloy':

    https://www.apple.com/apple-vision-pro/

    They'll have to go over every piece, every camera, sensor and try to eliminate bulk. It'll be difficult to get 50% of the weight but somewhere between 15-25% is probably doable within a couple of revisions. A different way of head mounting could help it feel less heavy too. Possibly they can change how the front display works from a lenticular lens to projection or ridged OLED display surface:

    https://displaydaily.com/apple-receives-patent-for-lenticular-lens-display-technology/
    If someone tries to talk to me while wearing one of these toys, I'm either going to ignore them completely, or tell them, "Sorry, I can't stop laughing. Please take them off!"
    designrBannedForFreeSpeech
  • Reply 10 of 42
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    Go ahead and put that over-the-head strap on, if you're having fatigue problems.

    Then you'll have a different problem: people laughing at you because you look like you're wearing an upside-down jockstrap on your face!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 42
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    designr said:
    Marvin said:
    Xed said:
    I imagine that front glass with an outward-facing display adds some weight that many would be fine with dumping, but I understand why Apple wants to make it clear if you're in VR or AR when wearing them around others.
    It's also about eye contact. You can have a conversation with someone without taking them off:
     :# :'(

     Yuck.
    Agreed. It's pathetic. Sort of like people who wear sunglasses indoors. What do they think they're hiding?
    grandact73
  • Reply 12 of 42
    byronl said:
    what about the feature where the headset itself adapts to the user's prescription? apple has a few patents on that. I'm guessing the technology is way off?
    I remember around 2015 having a conversation with a professor at the optics college I graduated from about the Oculus headset. I was told that the advancement it had over  previous goggles was that it relied less on optically processing the image with lenses, mirrors, etc. and instead handled it using DSP. So I was kind of surprised that the Vision Pro needed to be fitted with additional prescription lenses when they should just be able to replicate the transform of the image the prescription lens does instead with DSP.
    williamlondonFileMakerFellerbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 42
    danox said:
    The first step is to design something that people actually want to use. The weight is immaterial, and up to this point no one has designed anything that remotely works, I think the Apple Vision Pro will be the first one, Apple has laid all the groundwork to make it a success the rest of the competition are in trouble.

    Apples device will show all the strengths of being a vertical computer company, and what that can mean in terms of functionality, design, and engineering combined with an ecosystem to backup the hardware.

    And yes, the second and third generations will be lighter, but the Apple Vision Pro won’t be significantly cheaper, in short it will never be under 2000 dollars.
    Great points.  The first portable cell phone was 9 inches tall, 2.5 lbs, 30 minute battery life, and cost $4k (in mid 80s dollars).  Despite these specs, it was still useful to many people.
    williamlondondanoxFileMakerFellerbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 42
    If Vision Pro is indeed around 450g, that isn’t too far off from AirPods Max at 385g.  I’m sure they are experimenting with different materials — possibly titanium or carbon fiber.
    FileMakerFellerbyronlHonkersmayflywatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 42
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,121member
    gatorguy said:

    The weight of the Apple Vision Pro is an issue that Apple is still working on, a report claims, with future models set to become much lighter.

    Wow, never woulda guessed that. :)
    I wonder. The first iPhone generation got slightly heavier, then lighter with the 5, 5s and SE, then started getting heavier again, and never came back down again even to where the first iPhone was. I’m sure they’ll be tempted to try to get the battery into the main unit (if not hardware upgrades that add weight and bulk) and there will always be people demanding better battery life who care less about the weight. But maybe it’s a question of what gives out first, your head or the battery, and if the battery snaps on externally people could choose what they want to prioritize. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 42
    designr said:
    If Vision Pro is indeed around 450g, that isn’t too far off from AirPods Max at 385g.  I’m sure they are experimenting with different materials — possibly titanium or carbon fiber.
    True. However, the mounting/wearing approach is quite different. I'd say that will require the Vision to be lighter.
    Wouldn’t a top strap help?  I see one in some marketing images, but I wonder if third parties will develop their own.  I can imagine some with an exaggerated amount of padding that would ok for home, not so much for public.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 42
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,646member
    The Apple Vision Pro straps could be transparent. (Perhaps 3rd party straps?) Just like some N95 masks are transparent.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 42
    byronlbyronl Posts: 369member
    byronl said:
    what about the feature where the headset itself adapts to the user's prescription? apple has a few patents on that. I'm guessing the technology is way off?
    I remember around 2015 having a conversation with a professor at the optics college I graduated from about the Oculus headset. I was told that the advancement it had over  previous goggles was that it relied less on optically processing the image with lenses, mirrors, etc. and instead handled it using DSP. So I was kind of surprised that the Vision Pro needed to be fitted with additional prescription lenses when they should just be able to replicate the transform of the image the prescription lens does instead with DSP.
    wait so the original oculus actually did that??
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 42
    HonkersHonkers Posts: 156member
    designr said:
    If Vision Pro is indeed around 450g, that isn’t too far off from AirPods Max at 385g.  I’m sure they are experimenting with different materials — possibly titanium or carbon fiber.
    True. However, the mounting/wearing approach is quite different. I'd say that will require the Vision to be lighter.
    Wouldn’t a top strap help?  I see one in some marketing images, but I wonder if third parties will develop their own.  I can imagine some with an exaggerated amount of padding that would ok for home, not so much for public.
    It would help, but it's still unbalanced compared to AirPods Max.  The weight itself isn't so much of the problem, it's that it all concentrated on the front of the face putting pressure on the neck, and possibly the bridge of the nose too (can't say for sure, haven't tried one).  And likely to stay that way unfortunately, unless Apple wants to build more of a helmet structure so that they can put elements of the electronics at the rear of the head.  I don't think anyone wants that though, so the imperative is to make the existing design lighter through materials and refinement.
    edited October 2023 designrwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 42
    Apple can lighten the unit and slim the bulk considerably via materials change. But that would either a: cost even more to use higher end materials or b: resort to even more cheap plastic. 

    This is and will be a limited niche product in an already limited niche market until Apple finds a way to put this functionality to a standard-looking pair of glasses/sunglasses. 

    The vision pro is a really cool nerd toy that encases your actual noggin. That’s far and away from Apple’s usual ethos of their products getting out of the way and “just works” to enhance your life. The vision pro demands more. 

    A pair of shades on the other hand? That’s like a watch or phone. Everyone has a pair and everyone wears them. Adding AR/VR tech would be the ultimate mass market approach. 

    While the vision pro is amazing for what it is, what is is just isn’t that appealing. 

    The approach is like taking a heavy iPad and strapping it to your wrist, connected to a heart rate monitor on your chest, and wired to sensor/boots on your feet to count steps —- instead of a tiny watch that weighs nothing, doesn’t encumber movement, and has pulse and pedometer tech built in. 

    It’s like a refined beta product. Apple just wants to get this out to recoup the massive R&D spending in the hopes of figuring out an actual Apple way of solving this in the future. And that in and of itself is not very Apple. Strange times. 

    In a few years, when this becomes a sunglasses form factor, I’ll be interested as will the mass market. Until then, we are looking at a market limited to apple fans with expendable income. It should do better than the microcosm of PC centric VR toys, due to Apple’s fan base, but it won’t approach anywhere near Apple Watch levels of the market. 

    Until the until Apple iSight or whatever comes out, looking forward to the advancement of Macs and Apple Silicon to stir things up. 
    Apple released the iSight in 2003.

    Overall your comment is very reminiscent of people that prematurely declared the Apple Watch a failure because nobody wanted to wear a watch any more and it was totally redundant.  They could sue their phone to to tell time, make calls, send messages ....  
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
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