Apple is usually pretty secretive about its upcoming products, but that isn’t stopping CEO Tim Cook from dropping hints about the company’s next big thing.
Earlier today, Cook was asked for his thoughts about virtual reality storytelling in an interview with Good Morning America.
“There’s virtual reality and then there’s augmented reality,” Cook replied. “Both of these are incredibly interesting, but my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far. “[Augmented reality] gives us the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have something visually for both of us to see.”
This isn’t the first time Cook has spoken about augmented reality and virtual reality, or AR and VR. In August, he revealed that Apple is doing a “lot of things” with augmented reality. This revelation came weeks after he confirmed the company was investing in the tech.
Cook wasn’t completely dismissive of VR today, though. “Virtually reality closes and immerses the person into an experience that can be really cool but probably has a lower commercial interest,” he said. “But there’s some very cool areas for education and gaming that we have a lot of interest in.”
Doubling down on AR
Cook has been on a bit of a AR-hint dropping tear this year, revealing on Apple’s last earnings call the company is very much interested in the mixed-reality tech.
“We are high on AR for the long run,” Cook said in July. “We think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. So we’re investing.”
Cook cited the massive success of Pokémon Go as “incredible,” bringing the use of AR into the mainstream. The mobile game has exceeded more than half a billion downloads, and Apple gave its developer, Niantic, center stage during its iPhone 7 launch event to show off the game running on the Apple Watch. The mobile game will eventually come to Google’s Android Wear smartwatch platform as well.
Apple reportedly put together a team of experts to work on its augmented and virtual reality initiatives, according to a Financial Times from the beginning of this year. This news broke after Apple confirmed is acquisition of Flyby Media, a startup that helped Google develop is Project Tango 3D-mapping technology.
Despite all the smoke, it’s unclear what product Apple will actually create that will incorporate augmented reality. Will it make a headset, like the Microsoft Hololens? Or, perhaps Apple will create an AR experience that won’t require a headset at all.
Many would argue Apple has been in a rut lately, only offering incremental updates to its products, like the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2. With AR on the horizon, Apple may finally wow us again with “one more thing.”