Apple CEO Tim Cook continues to drop hints about the company’s ambitions to enter the augmented reality (AR) space.
The Independent got a chance to interview Cook during his visit with UK-based app developer ustwo, the creators of the iOS game Monument Valley. Aside from positive commentary regarding Apple’s developer community and vague mentions of an innovation-packed product pipeline, Cook briefly touched on the burgeoning field of augmented reality.
While Apple has yet to release a consumer AR product, the technology is quickly becoming a great area of interest for the company. Cook said the tech holds more promise than its cousin virtual reality, which “closes the world out.”
In the interview, Cook called AR a “big idea” and likened it to the smartphone. He said:
“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,” Cook said. “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,” he said. “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.”
Cook unsurprisingly did not reveal any details about Apple’s plan for AR, but his remarks make it clear that the field is of intense interest.
Cook made similar comments in past interviews, suggesting Apple is looking to market an AR or mixed reality system in the future. Whereas VR puts users in a completely digitized 3D environment, AR is best described as a layer of digital information overlaid onto the physical world.
Mixed reality takes the concept of AR a step further by allowing users to interact with both virtual and real objects at the same time.