A future Apple Vision Pro headset could sense when its weight is too much for your body to bear

Apple Vision Pro with two people
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's Vision Pro continues to get all the headlines as well it should — the $3,499 headset goes on sale on February 2 after months of waiting. But Apple is already working on future models and one of them might have a feature designed to help it know when its own bulk is starting to get a bit much for the head that it's sat on.

A new patent suggests that Apple is well aware that wearing something like the Vision Pro headset for extended periods of time could be problematic, especially for people who don't have the neck muscles required to wear it comfortably. While the headset isn't as heavy as some had expected, some of those who have spent time with it have already commented that it can become uncomfortable after a while. With that in mind, Apple seems to be working on ways to alleviate that problem or, at the very least, preempt it.

The new patent suggests that Apple's future Vision Pro will sense the strain that it is causing on the wearer and then alert the wearer if it believes the strain is too much. The feature appears designed to allow future headset wearers to become aware of strains before they happen, preventing injury.

Preemptive measures

The patent, which was first spotted by AppleInsider and is named "Method And Device For Tiered Posture Awareness," doesn't explicitly mention the Vision Pro of course. Patents like this are vague by design to ensure that they can be used more broadly and by not mentioning its headset by name, Apple can use the same patent on future models no matter what they might be called.

The system described in the patent appears configured to take a baseline reading of the wearer's muscles when the headset is first put on and then use that information to calculate when the strain is reaching problematic levels. When that happens, a visual indicator could be used to warn the headset wearer. They would then likely be invited to take a break and return to the headset after a period of rest.

It's clear that Apple is aware that neck fatigue could be a key issue for Vision Pro wearers, especially if the company has received similar feedback from those who have spent time with it to date. How much of an issue it really is isn't something we will know until more people start to receive their Vision Pro headsets in the first week of February.

Apple announced the Vision Pro on June 5, 2023, at the company's WWDC event. It was largely radio silence from there on out but the headset went up for preorder on January 19 with prices starting at $3,499 for the 256GB model. Configurations with 512GB and 1TB of storage are also available, as are a range of accessories. Those accessories include a $199 travel case that can be used to take the headset on the road, while a second battery will also cost the same amount of money. A Belkin holster is also available so that people can clip the Vision Pro's battery to themselves, too, although that's more reasonably priced at just $50.

Apple is already thought to be working on a cheaper Vision Pro, but it isn't expected to ship any time soon.

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Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • naddy69
    Is it going to end up weighing 10 pounds?

    Let's face it. Any tech toy that needs this capability just weighs too much.

    A much better solution is changing the design of the tech toy.

    This makes as much sense as CPUs that got so hot that Apple tried adding liquid cooling systems to it. Hello Power PC G5. Complete with a water pump, a radiator and rubber hoses. What could possibly go wrong there?

    That's right, the cooling system leaks and ruins the motherboard by getting everything wet while the power is on.

    A much better solution is CPUs that don't get hot. Hello Apple M series.
    Reply