Apple CEO Cook on Augmented Reality: ‘I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone’

“Tim Cook has been having quite the week. On Monday and Tuesday he was whistlestopping round France and Germany, arriving in the UK on Wednesday,” David Phelan reports for The Independent. “After receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow on Wednesday night, he answered questions in a fireside chat with 1,100 students.”

“On Thursday morning, he met the Prime Minister in Downing Street, then the Mayor of London. He visited a school and then on to south London to ustwo, makers of video games including Whale Trail and the remarkable Monument Valley,” Phelan reports. “It’s one of the most successful developers in the UK and beyond: Monument Valley has earned $15 million and counting. Cook had come to see their current and future projects.”

Phelan reports, “Having hosted the fireside chat in Glasgow the night before, I caught up with Tim Cook in the gaudy comfort of ustwo’s new offices – a former pickle factory.”

A snippet:

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… 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, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives. And be entertaining. I view AR like I view the silicon here in my iPhone, it’s not a product per se, it’s a core technology. But there are things to discover before that technology is good enough for the mainstream. I do think there can be a lot of things that really help people out in daily life, real-life things, that’s why I get so excited about it.

Much more in the full interview here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last November, “Imagine what could be done with AirPods coupled with a pair of Apple Specs. The sky’s the limit!”

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, October 13, 2016

Interns, TTK posthaste!

Apple working to integrate Augmented Reality capabilities into iPhone’s Camera app – November 17, 2016
Apple Specs: Smart glasses that people will want to wear – November 16, 2016
Apple considers move into smart glasses – November 14, 2016
Apple granted another Augmented Reality head-mounted display patent – November 10, 2016
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple will have a 3-5 year lead in augmented reality; use as part of an autonomous driving system – November 2, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘We are high on Augmented Reality for the long run’ – October 14, 2016
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


    1. No offense to Steve or fans…
      But when he said “good artists copy.. great artist steal” (which is a variation of a quote from earlier times from many people)
      He forgot the use one key word twice …. “CON”

      It makes better real world sense with that word included.

    1. I do believe they have something big up their sleeves, despite the scepticism expressed by self-appointed experts and analysts. Apple have been on fire for a long time and they are unlikely to suddenly become a pile of cinders.

      I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said “Judge me by the number of my critics, and thus elevate me in the danger I represent to their ideas.”

        1. I reckon someone who spends time incessantly complaining on a news site about a company they think is crap REALLY has some kind of severe mental problem. AND is a profoundly pathetic person. It really is that simple.

  1. I’m getting memories of what he said about Apple TV. Or his “we have exciting products coming down the pipeline” you know like 3 years ago. In other words I’ll need to see action from Tim before I’m suckered again

  2. Pipeline Tim, your augmented reality that your loyal customers are happy with you lazy efforts is off-base.
    You have about 30 major sku’s to update and for some reason you just can’t seem to get it together. Such a sad time for Apple with money left all over the table. I really wish someone else more aggressive and focused would do your job!

  3. Cooks comment about the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality being concerned with enhancing the real world as opposed to shutting out the real world is a very astute point and very strongly suggests that Apple has not only been working on AR, but also been giving a lot of thought to what AR can usefully do, or to put it another way, how to make a successful business from AR solutions.

    To put it another way, it appears that Apple has identified a serious ( profitable ) purpose for AR, unlike VR, which is principally used for gaming.

  4. I don’t need to augment or even distort reality. I need to deal with it. AR will be as disappointing as VR and silly watches.

    The iPhone was a solid idea with tangible problems to solve. It truly became Apple’s “Computer for the rest of us.”

    VR, touch bars, AR, and cars, meh. Wearables smearables. The gimmick department seems more heavily staffed at Apple than engineering.

    Desire for the iPhone was palpable long before it debuted. People always asked why doesn’t Apple build a phone? These days I hear people talk about the Mac. A lot. I hear people ask, “What monitor do I buy?” Only in the conversational bubble of the computer news media do I hear people discussing AR and VR and wearables etc. These people struggle, not to find the next great thing, but to find the next great investment.

    If nothing else it should be clear that Tim Cook is no product guy, and there may be no good product people left at Apple. Jony Ives is a great product designer but even he had to be told which products to design and which features were priority. He clearly has no direction now. Love of the iPhone has pushed Apple to the point where Apple are the elite and arrogant denizens of the sky city of wealth and the rest of us are just not worth thinking about. The crown jewels are wrapped up in a box in the vault labeled macOS and nobody has opened that vault for quite a while.

    Due to the ridiculously great success of the iPhone, any discussion of Apple’s failings is scoffed at. But there are failures. Every gimmick is a failure. Every year without substantial progress on the Mac and/or macOS is a failure.

    People are talking about what they want and need to make their lives, in particular their work lives, better. It seems Apple would rather listen to some dimwitted clueless reporter on CNBC about the next great thing than pursue the interests of their customers.

    1. I’m with you, particularly your last paragraph. I don’t want another device to strap on, and most human activities don’t really need to be augmented. What a crock. Remember when Apple was a leader?

    2. Have you tried room scale VR with the HTC Vive? That experience is far from disappointing. Tilt Brush and Google Earth exceed expectations and give a glimpse into the possibilities with VR. It’s all about the touch controllers.

  5. AR and VR can coexist in the same marketplace. This isn’t Betamax vs VHS – they are two separate experiences. AR will have wider appeal because it will ultimately replace the computer screen. VR will continue to be a gaming & entertainment platform as well as social. Facebook is already rolling out social features that are pretty interesting on Oculus. I recently bought a Vive and have been enjoying hours of escape daily. And it’s just the beginning! Not holding my breath for Apple to get in the VR space.

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