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Jonathan Ive. Photo by Bloomberg.

Apple’s Headset, a Fashion Fiasco in the Making?

Photo: Jonathan Ive. Photo by Bloomberg.

It’s hard to judge a product that hasn’t even been publicly acknowledged by the company making it, much less released. But let’s go ahead and be a little judgy of Apple’s mixed-reality headset anyway. After all, we got a bonanza of details about the secretive project in Wayne Ma’s terrific two-part series this week (click here for parts one and two). Let’s put aside for a moment the eye-popping price tag of $3,000 that Apple is considering for the product. While that’s three times more than the starting price of a high-end iPhone, this is a company that sells a $6,000 computer and a $5,000 monitor.   

The things that really should give Apple fans pause about the headset are its sheer complexity and its ungainliness. There are the weird, outward-facing displays on the device that will show the eyes and expressions of people wearing the headset—a gimmick meant to reduce the isolating nature of most headsets by making bystanders feel more connected to their wearers (John Gruber of Daring Fireball, an Apple-friendly blog, said the feature sounded “nightmarishly ghoulish”). There are the 14 cameras festooning the device and the external battery pack that Jonathan Ive, the former Apple design guru who is still consulting on the project, is pushing for. 

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