Apple will soon launch , a mixed reality headset. This seems almost certain. What is exactly? All are very up-to-date. One thing hasn’t changed: Tim Cook’s vision for AR/VR. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been promoting AR as more important than VR for almost a decade. AR is about connecting people. He’s not giving up.
“If you look at the technology with augmented reality, just one side of it, the idea you could overlay the natural world with things from digital world could greatly enhance people’s communication, people’s connection,” Cook said to Zach Baron in , a lengthy and interesting profile published by the magazine. Cook stated to Baron that he is open to collaboration. He also spoke about measuring glass walls and how his views on glasses-as gadget have changed over time.
This is not a product announcement. It’s just the latest in a long line of clues about Apple’s plans for this market. Cook has been on this line since at most 2016 when he stated on Good Morning America that AR “gives us both the ability to be very present, talk to one another, and also have other things — visual — for us both to see.”
This is in line with what we know so far about Apple’s upcoming headset. It will cost $3,000 and will focus on ” copresence.” Meta’s vision of the metaverse seems to envision all of us living in digital spaces while Apple wants to bring digital things into the real world. Cook stated that AR is an important technology for education and that it will be as common as eating three meals per day. He also said that AR is as big as the smartphone. He keeps returning to the idea AR should bring people together in real life, not separate them or transport them into another world.
Cook offered what seems like an explanation as to why the headset took so long to arrive, despite being heavily rumored for the past couple of years. He told that he was not interested in assembling pieces of other people’s stuff. “Because it is our goal to control the primary technology. We know this is how you invent.
“I don’t want to put together pieces of someone else’s stuff.”
It’s worth reading the whole article, which covers everything from Cook’s background and salary to how he views user privacy. Cook reiterates Apple’s party line on the last point. He says that Apple is trustworthy and that the world is scary. The App Store will make everything a disaster. This is nothing new. Cook apparently doesn’t use golf carts which is a wonderful detail.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the story is Cook’s explanation of Apple. Or at least how he hopes that you will see it. Cook speaks frequently about Apple’s environmental commitments and its fight against the “data-industrial complex.” He also discusses how Apple is trying to improve people’s relationships with technology. It is not obvious that Apple is more responsible than any other company for our addiction to phones. “Because I believe that if you look at your phone more than you are looking into someone’s eyes, then you are doing the wrong thing.”
Cook believes Apple doesn’t want screens to be used instead of the real world. It wants tools that help you do more in the real one. You could argue that it fell on the wrong side in the smartphone era. The stakes will get higher in the future mixed reality era, and Apple will have to do everything right.