New photos posted Thursday on Reddit revealed what appear to be updated designs for the HTC Vive headset and controllers. The leak comes just a few weeks ahead of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, where virtual reality headsets, including the Vive and the Oculus Rift, are expected to take center stage. Reportedly found by two separate redditors digging through the Vive developer site, the new hardware generally seems to add another layer of polish, with compositional changes and steps taken to keep wires and sensors out of site.
The headset looks similar to the current developer kit, but now features a smoother faceplate with a small camera at the bottom-center. The sensors have been sealed in, though the distinctive sensor divots remain. The HTC logo has been moved from the center of the plate to a much more subtle position on the end of the vertical strap, which is completely visible now as the over-head running wires seems to have been removed.
The controller, on the other hand, seems to have been greatly refined. The large hexagonal plate at the top of the handle has been replaced by a seemingly smaller oval shaped sensor. The touchpad has been changed from an embedded circle to an finger-grooved oval shape. The button above and below the touchpad are now covered, with indicating symbols of some sort.
According to Redditor Heaney555, who posted the headset, the new hardware could be either a new development kit or retail-ready hardware. Based on the attention to aesthetics and reduced number of wires, both components seem to have been designed with consumers in mind.
Last week, HTC announced it would delay the launch of the Vive until April, 2016. HTC had previously planned to release their headset by the end of the year, ensuring it would launch ahead of the Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR, which are currently expected to arrive in early 2016.
A final word of caution: it’s important to keep in mind that, as unsubstantiated information gleaned from Reddit, these designs may be fabrications. We’ll likely find out what’s real and what’s not when we get to CES next month.