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These parts could be the first leak of Apple’s mixed-reality headset

These parts could be the first leak of Apple’s mixed-reality headset


An admittedly vague leak could be one of our first looks at the long-awaited device.

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An illustration of the Apple logo.
Illustration: The Verge

There’s a chance we just got a look at some cables and sensors for Apple’s upcoming and much-rumored virtual / augmented reality headset. Photos from MrWhite128, a protected Twitter account, which were reposted by MacRumors and 9to5Mac, appear to show ribbon cables that look like they’d fit perfectly in a set of eye-shaped goggles.

It’s not obvious from the pictures what exactly the cables would do beyond connecting the left and right sides of the headset — without context, there’s not a ton to be gleaned from them. The leaker also shared pictures of a cable that has three bulbous sections, which could be some sort of sensor or camera array. The headset is rumored to have color-passthrough capabilities that let you see the real world outside of it, similar to the Meta Quest.

Photo of two ribbon cables that look like a pair of glasses.


When you put two of the cables together like this, it certainly looks like it’s meant to outline a human face.
Image: Mr. White via 9to5Mac

To be clear, these pictures are pretty sketchy. For one, the person who posted them didn’t directly say they’re from a headset, according to MacRumors, which reports that the caption for the tweet was just a face with sunglasses emoji. And while the ribbon cables definitely look like they belong in a VR headset, the long cable with sensors on it (picture three in the gallery above) looks suspiciously like the microphone array from a first-gen HomePod, as 9to5Mac’s Ian Zelbo pointed out in a now-deleted tweet. While it wouldn’t exactly be weird if Apple were using a similar design for another product, it’s probably worth taking this one with a massive grain of salt.

If the parts are legit, though, it could add weight to the rumors that Apple plans to announce the headset at WWDC this year and release it before 2023 is up. Leaks tend to happen when the company starts to ramp up its supply chain to actually produce the devices — if that’s the case here and it’s starting to produce parts, the timing would be about right. It would also line up with rumors from last year that Apple planned to take the headset into production in March 2023.

Of course, we’re still in pretty speculative waters; likely the only way this particular rumor will be confirmed is after the headset is released and torn down or if Apple shows off an exploded component view of the headset when it’s announcing it. At the very least, though, we got to see some interestingly-shaped ribbon cables and imagine how they could fit in a potential headset that’s only existed in rumors and concept sketches.