Apple CEO Cook offers clues to Apple’s Augmented Reality strategy

“A recent interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook has offered up some interesting tidbits on how Apple will approach the subject of AR (Augmented Reality),” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet.

“There’s quite a bit to unpack here. First and foremost is that Cook sees AR as a better technology than VR,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “Whereas VR required the user to wear goggles or glasses of some description, an AR overlay can be applied to the world using, say, a smartphone’s camera and display (think Pokémon Go).”

“Cook is quick to trash VR, claiming that people don’t want to be isolated from the world in headsets, and that the technology can make people sick. These are the two biggest complaints related to VR and it’s clear Apple sees them as showstoppers,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “The “I view AR like I view the silicon here in my iPhone” line is incredibly telling. It suggests that for Apple, the goal is to make AR as invisible to the end user as the processor and RAM in an iPhone. It’s another tool for people to use, not an end result.”

Much more in the full article here.

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

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

Apple CEO Cook on Augmented Reality: ‘I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone’ – February 10, 2017
Apple working to integrate Augmented Reality capabilities into iPhone’s Camera app – November 17, 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, 201


  1. this time cook has it right, VR has been in consumer development since mid 1980’s and the only success has been achieved in theme parks… 4-6 minute large screen/audience films. Forcing the brain/eye to synthesize 3d dimensional space is stressful and inconsistent, VR will never achieve its hype.

    1. Iys a bit more mainstream than that now.
      I bought the playstation vr headset… i enjoy it a lot… so do all my friends and kids to a point that im asked to take my whole setup to every gathering i go.

      All that said… AR , imo has much bigger real world applications. … and there i am totally in agreement with Tims perspective.

    2. I see VR as a building block or stepping stone to AR, a type of ‘foundation’ that needs to be understood before successfully implementing AR. Apple downplaying VR may hurt them in the future.

      1. Right, and to me this is the important point here. Although I also agree with Tim Cook reasoning on VR up to a point I think it is a big mistake to underestimate the role VR development could play in the future.

        Limiting the Mac on GPU performance or making Mac users think Apple is right to choose what is “best” for all users is wrong. Apple should focus its effort on the creation of the best tools and the ecosystem and let the users choose what to do with them.

  2. Here’s what Apple needs for AR in the very near future:

    -AirPods (check)

    -iPhone with two cameras aligned on the long plane (iPhone 8?)

    -Goggles or glasses (I imagine these would not be the blackout type of googles which fit snug on the face and block out light, but rather something light that holds an iPhone before your eyes while allowing you peripheral vision.)

    With the above your phone could use the cameras to see what is in front of you and to display it on the screen in front of your eyes. The AR could then superimpose anything into that screen. AirPods would take care of necessary audio.

    1. Lets hope it cant be hacked mind, or someone will inevitably just love to make you think you are safely walking down the pavement as you approach the middle of a busy junction with the lights about to turn green, with the image of DONT PANIC overlayed your last sight on earth..

  3. With Google’s Tango AR tech already out in the market Apple will have to at least match it when they release their version of AR. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon dusted off their IR camera tech from the Fire Phone for a go at their own AR tech.

  4. I’ll tell you what would make augmented reality catch on with single women: a creep detector, based on facial recognition. Socially responsible bars are already offering “Angel shots,” a newly emerging code for avoiding sexual predators.

        1. I suppose it wouldn’t if the App developer sets up a image DB specifically for the App that users can add to. Once you use any government DB (e.g. Police or State ID/Drivers’) you’ll have to worry about privacy laws.

  5. Most of what TC is realistic, logical and true, however I just hope in 5 to 10 years we find its not based on the same logic that keeps Macs and iPads intrinsically different products beyond the common sense that says there is indeed room for a crossover device. Well to anyone who isn’t an accountant thinking about any short term loss of income anyway.

  6. With all the Apple patents, we can dream about VR and define what will be Apple’s shot into this yet to be market.

    When you look at the cameras patents, I see a eye tracking system overlay on your iPhone screen that automatically zoom in where your eye are looking and with a simple eye gesture, confirm the intention. Bye bye voice assistant, welcome the eye tracking system. BTW, the army is already using a similar system to load/unload/reload weapons on Apaches…

    1. Wassn’t eye tracking the purpose for those 6 IR cameras facing the user on the Fire Phone? I thought it was an interesting idea since it would work in both portrait and landscape modes.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.