First real-world Reality Pro headset leak might have spoiled a key design element

After months of vague descriptions and feature overviews, we may have just gotten our first sighting of Apple’s long-awaited Reality Pro AR/VR headset, thanks to a component leak posted yesterday to Twitter. But doubts remain over the legitimacy of the images, which may yet prove to be fake or the result of a misunderstanding.

Twitter user Mr White (@MrWhite128), a source of leaks who has provided some accurate info in the past, shared four photos purportedly showing parts of the mixed-reality headset that’s expected to launch later this year. (Mr White limits who can view his tweets, so we can’t embed the tweet, but you can see the images below.) None of these depict the entire headset or even anything that would give us a clear idea of what it will look like, but if genuine, they would offer at least some hint of the product’s state of development: while prototypes occasionally escape from Apple’s design and engineering departments, the risk of leaks vastly increases when a launch approaches and samples are sent to third-party manufacturers in the supply chain.

The leaked ribbon cables paint an interesting picture of what the Reality Pro headset could look like. While reports have suggested that the headset will look like a pair of ski goggles and not unlike the current VR headsets on the market. However, the leaked images show a rounded design that suggests the headset will look more like a pair of glasses than a traditional VR headet.

But are they genuine? The first question mark is raised by the lack of corroboration from other sources. Somebody has to be first, of course, but once a product reaches the leak-prone phase of development it’s likely that multiple sources will get hold of photos. Until that happens, we have to regard these images as unproven.

Furthermore, an eagle-eyed commenter has pointed out that one of the components looks like the microphone array from a HomePod. This certainly isn’t conclusive proof that the images are fake–the two products could easily share a component, or have ones that look alike–but it’s also possible that somewhere along the line some wires have become crossed.

Following a series of reported delays, the consensus among pundits is pointing towards WWDC in June for the likely unveiling of the mixed-reality headset. There have been reports that it could wait until the iPhone 15 launch event in the fall, and sources inside Apple suggest that the design team wanted to wait even longer than that, preferring the idea of delaying until technology advances enabled them to put together a lighter-weight version. It’s claimed that Tim Cook overruled this objection to press ahead with a 2023 launch schedule.


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