Wide Lightning ifixit.com

iFixit has been tearing down Apple’s Vision Pro, and there is much to look at in this thing. There are jam-packed boards if you are into nitty-gritty details, there are many complicated parts sandwiched together, and there are the “highest-density displays [iFixit has] ever seen”.

So I think I will focus on the strange connector used at the pack end of the battery.

Charlie Sorrel, in “part one” of the iFixit teardown:

On the left side is the proprietary battery cable connection, which snaps into place with a magnet and then twists to lock. We understand why Apple used a non-standard connector here, even if we don’t love it — at least it can’t be yanked out by a passing child, or when the cord inevitably catches on your chair. But the plug at the other end of the cable is unforgivable. Instead of terminating with a USB-C plug, it connects to the battery pack with what looks like a proprietary oversized Lightning connector, which you release using a paperclip or SIM-removal tool.

This connector means that you can’t just swap in the USB-C battery pack you already own. Lame.

It only took four days and the second part of the iFixit teardown for Sorrel to suggest some reasons for the use of a proprietary connector:

The pack is also outputting a non-USB-standard 13 volts to keep up with the Vision Pro’s processing demands, which is one explanation for the bespoke “big Lightning” cable — so you don’t accidentally plug other devices in and fry them. It also explains why you can’t just plug it straight into a USB-C battery pack. In fact, the Vision Pro’s battery pack has enough tech to act as an uninterruptible power supply, providing it specific, clean power even when plugged into the wall.

Oh, so maybe it does not seem so “unforgivable”?

Whether Apple would have used a USB-C connector if it were able to make the headset’s power demands compliant with the typical voltage of a USB-C device is something you can speculate about if you would like. It seems to me that Apple’s choice of a non-USB-C connector might not require it to use something proprietary; there are other options. But this seems entirely fair in context. The Vision Pro is not compatible with standard batteries, but the power bank it comes with does have a standard connector on it. It sure is a bizarre connector, though.