TIm Cook sat down with Andrew Griffin from The Independent to talk about Augmented Reality.
On how widespread AR will become:
“Think back to 2008, when the App Store went live. There was the initial round of apps and people looked at them and said, ‘this is not anything, mobile apps are not going to take off’.”
“And then step by step things start to move. And it is sort of a curve, it was just exponential – and now you couldn’t imagine your life without apps. Your health is on one app, your financials, your shopping, your news, your entertainment – it’s everything.”
“AR is like that. It will be that dramatic.”
I think Tim’s right in terms of AR eventually being everywhere — this is the stuff of science fiction! That said, it’s going to take truly transformative experiences for the masses to jump on board. While furniture apps are cool, there’s a possibility they could be seen as the fart apps of AR after a while.
On AR glasses:
“There are rumours and stuff about companies working on those – we obviously don’t talk about what we’re working on.”
“But today I can tell you the technology itself doesn’t exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face – there’s huge challenges with that.”
“The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet,”
That’s a nice way of saying Google Glass without actually saying it. Don’t get me wrong, Glass was pretty cool, but it was nowhere near ready for the masses, and why it has been relegated to factories. True AR glasses (or whatever form they come in) are going to be game changing.
On AirPods/audio as part of the AR experience:
I asked Cook whether he saw Apple’s AirPods – the wireless earphones that also allow their wearer to talk to Siri and hear directions – as a kind of augmented reality technology. He didn’t, but said that he can “envision audio becoming a key part of the AR experience”, referencing a game we had played that was soundtracked by the beautiful and dynamic twinkling of a Japanese rock garden.
I have been saying the AirPods (and Watch) could potentially be part of Apple’s AR strategy. If you notice, Tim’s distinction here is that AirPods are not AR, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still play a role. As for the Watch, I could see it providing motion data for games or possibly used as an input device.