The mixed reality headset will be the “most complex” hardware product Apple has ever made. An “unprecedented” challenge as well as in development also and above all in production due to its unusual design. A few days after the official announcement, expected during WWDC, The Information described in detail how elaborate and expensive the production of this headset was, which will usher in, as anticipated by Apple in a post on Twitter, a “new era”
According to Wayne Ma, journalist of The Information, this complexity is contributing to increase costs and limit production. Its unconventional curved shape, thinness, ultra light weight. All details that would have led the price to rise until it reached the threshold of 3,000 euros.
“A curved piece of glass with the edges wrapped in a smooth aluminum frame that appears to be slightly thicker than an iPhone”
One of the major challenges in development, Wayne Ma continues, would be the need to balance the resistance of the front curved glass with the thickness and weight. A curved glass, in fact, could represent a greater fragility. The engineers would have paid close attention to this aspect since the viewer is in contact with the user’s eyes. Furthermore, the extremely thin profile of this headset would require users who wear glasses to also purchase special prescription lenses that will magnetically attach to the headset.
The curvature of the visor would also have been a major obstacle in assembly. In addition to the external body, in fact, the internal electronics were also developed in order to adapt to the best, occupying as little space as possible. Apple would even make a “curved motherboard”, one of a kind, as well as solutions for inserting lenses and displays in the thin bezel. Moreover, the whole inside would have been reinforced with carbon fiber to increase resistance without reducing weight.
Given the complexity of the assembly, much of the manufacturing process of the headset would be done by hand, which would affect not only the price but also the production speed. Initially, Apple would have produced about 100 viewers a day but only 20 units managed to reach the high quality standards required. Subsequently, modifications would be made to facilitate assembly
As for how it works, there would be a small dial above the right eye that would allow users to switch from “augmented reality” to “virtual” mode. The power button would be positioned above the left eye, on the opposite side instead there would be a round button, apparently similar to that of an Apple Watch. Furthermore, on the side there would be a magnetic connector for connecting a battery pack via a cable
The headband of the viewer would be mainly made of a soft material, attached to two short and rigid rods that would also integrate the audio speakers. For added comfort, there would also be a removable soft cover to attach to the back.
The mass production of the viewerconcludes Wayne Ma, would not have started yet. Luxshare, the only company that would have been entrusted with the assembly of the viewer, should start the production lines by July. Consequently, the arrival on the market it could take place in autumn or winter.
As expected, in fact, in recent months Apple’s goal would be to have developers create the largest number of apps possible in order to make the most of it. In the first year, Apple expected to make about half a million headsets.