A short history of every time Apple CEO Tim Cook praised augmented reality
Tim Cook has just marked 10 years as Apple’s CEO, and while he’s grown Apple into the most valuable company in the world, it’s reasonable to argue he hasn’t yet introduced a signature, industry shaking product like Apple co-founder Steve Jobs did with the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and more.
But if you’ve been following Apple for a minute, you’ve probably heard Cook talk about the game-changing potential of augmented reality. While he once said it was hard to see the appeal of Google Glass, the AR wearable that proved unpopular with consumers, he’s held a consistently positive opinion on AR since at least 2016. While most of the industry was putting all its eggs in the VR basket, Cook repeatedly expressed support for what he views as the far superior AR. This would become a running theme: AR good, VR not so good.
It seems likely that AR may become the hallmark of Cook’s tenure, as long as Apple executes on a winning idea. While that’s not exactly guaranteed — Apple has yet to unveil an AR headset or glasses — Cook’s frequent comments about the tech keep the topic in the news and reassure investors and customers that Apple is working on it. In September 2021, he went as far as to call himself “AR fan number one.”
AR features are already available on the iPhone and iPad. And while hope is starting to fade that Apple will release a mixed reality device in 2022, the latest rumors suggest the company is still forging ahead with some kind of AR / VR headset to be released in the not-distant future.
Here’s a brief history of all the times Tim Cook said he was convinced AR was the future.
July 2016: Cook says in a quarterly earnings call that “AR can be really great.”
“We have been and continue to invest a lot in this. We are high on AR for the long run, we think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. The number one thing is to make sure our products work well with other developers’ kind of products like Pokémon, that’s why you see so many iPhones in the wild chasing pokemons.” (Cook pronounces it “pokey-mans.”)
September 2016: Cook tells Good Morning America in an interview that he believes AR is a bigger deal than VR.
“There’s virtual reality and there’s augmented reality — both of these are incredibly interesting. But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far.”
AR “gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have other things — visually — for both of us to see. Maybe it’s something we’re talking about, maybe it’s someone else here who’s not here present but who can be made to appear to be present.”
“There’s a lot of really cool things there.”
August 2016: Cook makes a brief mention of AR in a Washington Post profile: “I think AR [augmented reality] is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology. So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on behind that curtain that we talked about.”
October 2016: In an appearance at Utah Tech Tour, Cook goes into detail about how crucial AR may become and why he views it as superior to VR — while stressing that AR presents significant technology challenges before it can be adopted for mass consumerism.
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(See the full article here: The Verge)