I have mixed feelings with the Soapbar ring idea. Many like it, but some don’t. Jon Chang suggested transparent rings for that modern look that fits the XR’s unique look. It’s all about aesthetics. That might work, but why don’t we push a bit harder?
I think the 3D rendering above looks good. This one will be difficult to execute, but might be worth a try. Perhaps it can be done using layered acrylic or maybe resin casting. Clear resin casting gives nice results when done right, but it is very difficult to do right and in quantity. No wonder Q-Tuner no longer builds pickups that way.
I’d still keep the open coils. I like the hackable, modular and customisable nature of the XRs. I like the way the XR pickups can be disassembled down to the preamps and coils.