Apple CEO Tim Cook continues to talk about augmented reality like it’s the next major computing platform after the smartphone.
During a talk with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch over the weekend in Utah, Cook gave his most detailed answer yet about how Apple is approaching the technology, which uses computer glasses to superimpose computerized images on the world around the user, kind of like Google Glass does.
Cook thinks AR will “take a while” to reach mass adoption because of difficult technical challenges.
But it will get there. “It will happen in a big way, and we will wonder when it does, kind of how we wonder how we live without our phone today,” Cook said.
His discussion of the topic, which visibly excited him, provides the skeleton of what to expect as the augmented reality industry develops.
Eventually, Cook thinks that AR could become so essential that it will be as much a part of a user’s day as “eating three meals a day.”
Here were his complete comments:
“I think there’s two kind of different questions there. It will be enabled in the operating systems first, because it’s a precursor for that to happen for there to be mass adoption of it. I’d look for that to happen in the not-too-distant future. In terms of it becoming a mass adoption [phenomenon], so that, say, everyone in here would have an AR experience, the reality to do that, it has to be something that everyone in here views to be an ‘acceptable thing.'”
“And nobody in here, few people in here, think it’s acceptable to be tethered to a computer walking in here and sitting down, few people are going to view that it’s acceptable to be enclosed in something, because we’re all social people at heart. Even introverts are social people, we like people and we want to interact. It has to be that it’s likely that AR, of the two, is the one the largest number of people will engage with.
“I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day, it will become that much a part of you, a lot of us live on our smartphones, the iPhone, I hope, is very important for everyone, so AR will become really big. VR I think is not going to be that big, compared to AR. I’m not saying it’s not important, it is important.
“I’m excited about VR from an education point of view, I think it can be really big for education, I think it can be very big for games. But I can’t imagine everyone in here getting in an enclosed VR experience while you’re sitting in here with me. But I could imagine everyone in here in an AR experience right now, if the technology was there, which it’s not today. How long will it take?
“AR is going to take a while, because there are some really hard technology challenges there. But it will happen, it will happen in a big way, and we will wonder when it does, how we ever lived without it. Like we wonder how we lived without our phone today.”
Here’s the video of the talk. Cook addresses virtual reality and AR starting at 18:40.