“When it comes to virtual and augmented reality, Apple is typically — and inevitably — inscrutable,” John Paczkowski and Eimi Yamamitsu report for Buzzfeed News. “As several of its biggest competitors, including Google and Microsoft, have shown their hands with augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) strategies, Apple has mostly kept a poker face. But in an exclusive interview with BuzzFeed News Japan during his visit to Tokyo, Cook clarified Apple’s position a bit, suggesting the company is most interested in AR because it can enhance and amplify human experiences.”

“‘There’s no substitute for human contact,’ Cook told BuzzFeed News. ‘And so you want the technology to encourage that,'” Paczkowski and Yamamitsu report. “It’s not the first time Cook has indicated that Apple might favor AR. ‘We are high on AR for the long run,’ Cook said during an earnings call this past summer. ‘I think AR can be huge.'”

VR, I think, has some interesting applications, but I don’t think it’s a broad-based technology like AR. Augmented reality will take some time to get right, but I do think that it’s profound. We might … have a more productive conversation, if both of us have an AR experience standing here, right? And so I think that things like these are better when they’re incorporated without becoming a barrier to our talking… You want the technology to amplify it, not to be a barrier. — Apple CEO Tim Cook

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last month, given the success of such AR apps as Pokémon GO, we fully expect Apple to investigate the potential of augmented reality which has been so promising for so many years (think apps like Layar which we first tried on our iPhones back in October 2009) yet not fully realized to date.

As the trail of related articles below attests, Apple’s interest in virtual and augmented reality hasn’t exactly been a well-kept secret.

iPhone 7 Plus is the starting point of Apple’s major push into augmented reality – September 28, 2016
iPhone 7 Plus proves Apple is gearing up for augmented reality – September 27, 2016
What iPhone 7 says about Apple’s future augmented reality plans – September 19, 2016
Apple needs to forget chasing Snapchat and go after the Augmented Reality industry – August 25, 2016
Tim Cook publicly confirms Apple has augmented reality plans – July 27, 2016
Apple acquires Flyby Media; assembles large team of virtual and augmented reality experts – January 29, 2016
Apple hires leading virtual reality researcher – January 22, 2016
Apple is building a virtual reality supply chain with disruptive potential, new research shows – November 19, 2015
Analyst: Apple team exploring virtual reality/augmented reality – August 31, 2015
Apple exploring a new reality with purchase of Metaio – June 3, 2015
Apple patents perforated augmented reality display that you can see and hear through – May 29, 2015
Apple acquires augmented reality company Metaio – May 28, 2015
New Apple haptics patent application reveals diamond-layered trackpad that simulates wood, other textures – April 23, 2015
Apple granted U.S. patent for hybrid VR head-mounted display – February 18, 2015
Apple is working on VR user interfaces and gaming; looking for Oculus and Leap experts – February 10, 2015
Apple granted patent for display-based speakers for iOS devices – January 13, 2015
Apple granted a patent for devices with a transparent display – November 18, 2014
Apple’s new iPhones, iPads could feature haptic displays – June 30, 2014
Apple patent application reveals personal display headset invention – May 8, 2014
Apple patent application reveals wildly intelligent multi-tiered haptics system – May 3, 2012
Apple continues to tweak Apple TV video headset accessory – April 10, 2014
Apple patent application reveals sapphire flexible transparent display devices created with Liquidmetal – December 19, 2013
Apple granted knockout patent for head-mounted personal display – December 10, 2013
iGlasses: Apple granted patent for head-mounted augmented reality displays – July 5, 2012
Apple files patent application for haptic feedback touch-based user interface – March 22, 2012