The One Part of Apple Vision Pro That Apple Doesn’t Want You to See

Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal.

Courtesy of Joanna Stern

If Vision Pro is mostly meant to be used from a couch cushion or desk chair, the external battery pack may not factor in as much. As I pointed out last spring, it’s an unusual choice for a consumer tech company that has, over the past two decades, created products that we transport with us, literally everywhere we go.

Some industry experts are split on the external battery design. Bailenson, for one, believes that headset computing should be optimized for shorter durations. “After 30 minutes, it’s probably time to take off the headset and go about your day and touch some walls and drink some water,” he says. “So in this instance there really shouldn’t be a need for an external battery pack, in my opinion, because most experiences are short.”

Sam Cole, the cofounder and chief executive of FitXR, a fitness app popular on the Meta Quest, says that, “controversially,” he doesn’t believe the Vision Pro battery pack will be “as much of a factor for fitness apps as it will be for sitting and working for hours.”

The external battery for an Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset on display

By the way, here’s what it looks like.

Photograph: Philip Pacheco/Getty Images

“Even when headsets are bulkier, our users tend to forget about the cable, forget about the battery pack, because you’re so focused on punches being thrown at you,” Cole says. “The weight distribution and the accessories become much more topical when you’re thinking about working on a headset or sitting on calls for four hours.”

But Cole also says, battery pack aside, “all of the Vision Pro’s factors put together have led us to believe it’s a really high-quality experience. This is going to be as good as Meta Quest 3 if not better.”

Prior examples might not necessarily help read the battery tea leaves, either. Early versions of the Magic Leap AR goggles had an external “compute pack” that was designed for the wearer’s waistband. Microsoft’s HoloLens, on the other hand, packed what felt like an entire PC on your head. Neither product was successful; the placement of the battery pack was moot.

Apple did not respond to an inquiry as to why journalists and influencers were not able to take their own photos of Vision Pro or if the company plans to share more images of the battery.