February 13, 2017 10:13:58 am
Apple is known for being secretive about its upcoming products, but recently there have been quite a few reports indicating the company is exploring Augmented Reality (AR) style glasses. In the past Apple CEO Tim Cook has also spoken about Augmented Reality and why he thinks it might be bigger than Virtual Reality (VR). Now in a latest interview with The Independent, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he thinks AR is the next big idea, just like the smartphone.
“I’m excited about Augmented Reality because unlike Virtual Reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently,” is what Cook was quoted as saying in the interview. He also pointed out VR not only locks out people, but there’s also a tendency for people to feel sick after using it. What Cook is saying is true, if you’ve ever tried a smartphone-powered virtual reality headset, chances are you have felt queasy at some point.
He also drew parallels between the smartphone and AR, and said the upcoming technology could be as big as the former. “I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic… I think AR is that big, it’s huge,” said the Apple CEO in the interview, adding that he viewed AR as a core technology and not a separate product.
But he also said it will take time before AR becomes mainstream.
Cook also mentioned in the interview that Apple will continue to push hardware, and said where things like machine learning are concerned, they’ll focus on running most of it on the device itself, rather than sacrifice user privacy. The Apple CEO is convinced AR can help people out in daily life, and said that’s why he is excited about it.
This is not the first time, the Apple CEO has spoken about the important of augmented reality. When the Pokémon GO phenomena was at its height, Cook had spoken about his faith in AR during the company’s Q3 2016 Investor Earnings call. Cook had said the Pokémon GO mania showed “AR can be really great”, adding the company was investing in the technology for the long run.
“We think there are great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. And so we’re investing, and the number one thing is to make sure our products work well with other developers’ products like Pokémon,” he had said earlier.
Apple for its part has never really much revealed about its plans on either Virtual or Augmented Reality. Last year in March, Financial Times report the Cupertino-based technology giant has a large team of experts to build both VR and AR prototypes of headsets. The report said the secret research unit consists of staff poached from other companies, including leading virtual reality researcher Doug Bowman.
More recently noted tech evangelist Robert Scoble predicted the company is planning to release an AR headset in partnership with Germany’s Carl Zeiss. During a recent appearance on “This Week in Tech” podcast, he admitted sources at the “highest levels” have strongly tipped that a pair of smart glasses are in the works. He also claimed the smart AR glasses could be revealed alongside the 10th anniversary iPhone 8 in September.
Earlier noted Apple analyst from KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple will unveil a fully baked AR product, but it’s unlikely to debut in the market for another two years. Bloomberg had also reported that Apple is in talks with “potential suppliers” about its AR-powered glasses, which could launch in 2018.
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