Apple CEO Tim Cook again touts benefits of AR over VR, says 'no substitute for human contact'

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in General Discussion
In an interview published Thursday, Apple CEO Tim Cook reaffirmed his company's stance on augmented reality, saying the technology's ability to amplify human experiences makes it more likely to succeed as compared to virtual reality.





Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks to BuzzFeed Japan reporter Eimi Yamamitsu. | Source: BuzzFeed Japan via Twitter




Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Cook once again reiterated the company's bullish position on AR. While the publication was unable to suss out details on future plans, it did nab a soundbite that sheds a bit of light onto the company's thinking.



"There's no substitute for human contact," Cook said. "And so you want the technology to encourage that."



Since first broaching the subject during a quarterly investors conference call in July, Cook has repeated the same refrain when asked about a potential Apple branded AR/VR offering.



"We have been and continue to invest a lot in this," Cook said in July. "We are high on AR for the long run, we think there's great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. So we're investing."



The Apple chief expanded on the topic in today's interview using expectedly vague terms.



"VR, I think, has some interesting applications, but I don't think it's a broad-based technology like AR," Cook told BuzzFeed News. "Augmented reality will take some time to get right, but I do think that it's profound. We might ... have a more productive conversation, if both of us have an AR experience standing here, right? And so I think that things like these are better when they're incorporated without becoming a barrier to our talking. [...] You want the technology to amplify it, not to be a barrier."



The comments are basically an abridged version of comments offered to major media outlets in recent weeks. Cook said the same thing, using interchangeable verbiage, in August, September and, most recently, two weeks ago at the Utah Tech Tour hosted by Sen. Orrin Hatch.



Distilled to its most basic elements, augmented reality can be described as layer of digital information overlaid onto the physical world, like the camera and screen interface used in Pok?mon Go. More immersive technology relies on specialized transparent displays, though these exotic solutions are still in their infancy and as such come at a high price. A number of tech companies are investing in the space, including Google's Glass product and Facebook's Oculus Rift platform.



Apple is also making strategic AR segment purchases like last year's acquisition of motion capture specialist Faceshift and German AR firm Metaio. The company is also developing supporting tech in-house, as evidence by a growing portfolio of AR/VR patents like transparent displays, iPhone-powered virtual reality systems, advanced computer vision tech and more.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    bitmodbitmod Posts: 153member
    This reminds me of Balmer talking about the iPhone for some reason.
    I don't see the connection as they have completely different applications.

    Apple would be wise to facilitate a platform for both.
  • Reply 2 of 56
    Yes. 

    When I look at a scene I would benefit from seeing the names of people (those I know) in view and the names of streets in various directions and compass headings. These are the simplest augmented views and complex technology but they certainly would simplify my interaction with the world.
    lolliver
  • Reply 3 of 56
    Sort of a second layer of information on the screen that's only appear when activated via 3d touch? Okay, I like it. Basic AR (AR applications have been long developed since year 2000) requires visual recog but advanced AR (and I hope Apple is pursuing this) is capable of 2 things: analyzing and suggestion. On the security side, I don't have problem Apple would tracking anything with their differential privacy data. Speed and accuracy improvements (in visual recog) will set Apple apart from competitors.
    baconstanglolliver
  • Reply 4 of 56
    bitmod said:
    This reminds me of Balmer talking about the iPhone for some reason.
    I don't see the connection as they have completely different applications.

    Apple would be wise to facilitate a platform for both.
    AR done right is a pure superset of VR. VR is somewhat limited IMO unless the VR fully maps the environment in real time and superimpose the VR view into the mapped real view.
    calilolliver
  • Reply 5 of 56
    AR that's truly useable is at least 5 years out.  We'll then travel through a vast, evolutionary manifestation of AR, whereby all possible implementations must be tried and complete for value, with standard collection of applications finally rising to the top.  

    Pure VR will be limited, aside from applications designed to appease, entertain the nervous system.  Living on Mars, for example, completely isolated and lonesome and boring, unless you immerse yourself in VR.  


  • Reply 6 of 56
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,466member
    The article should not assume we know what AR is. Accounts Receivable?
    starwarsjahblade
  • Reply 7 of 56
    jd_in_sb said:
    The article should not assume we know what AR is. Accounts Receivable?
    The first sentence defines it.
    lolliver
  • Reply 8 of 56
    jd_in_sb said:
    The article should not assume we know what AR is. Accounts Receivable?
    Yes, Accounts Receivable.

    And wait till you see what Apple has been working on in the HR space!
    paxmanbaconstangcalipscooter63lolliverslprescottquadra 610
  • Reply 9 of 56
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 384member
    The Verge did a very on point and sadly pretty accurate story on Siri (http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/12/13251068/walt-mossberg-apple-siri-is-dumb). If they can't get something like Siri working like the competition can with their products, Apple really needs to up their game. Since the iPad, the only thing they have come up with is the Apple Watch which while nice is not yet the game changer that the iPod, iPhone and iPad have been. Yes, I know a lot of dislikes are coming but take the time to read the article. Mossberg is hardly an Apple hater and Apple has already made changes to provide better response to his questions which means they are at least taking the criticisms seriously. 
    singularityentropys
  • Reply 10 of 56
    bulk001 said:
    The Verge did a very on point and sadly pretty accurate story on Siri (http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/12/13251068/walt-mossberg-apple-siri-is-dumb). If they can't get something like Siri working like the competition can with their products, Apple really needs to up their game. Since the iPad, the only thing they have come up with is the Apple Watch which while nice is not yet the game changer that the iPod, iPhone and iPad have been. Yes, I know a lot of dislikes are coming but take the time to read the article. Mossberg is hardly an Apple hater and Apple has already made changes to provide better response to his questions which means they are at least taking the criticisms seriously. 
    This is about AR and VR, not Siri.
    lolliverBluntslprescottjahbladeRayz2016davenbb-15urahara
  • Reply 11 of 56
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    I'd agree, added information of AR rather than decrease of information in a VR selective environment. 
  • Reply 12 of 56
    I care what Apple does, not what Tim Cook says. What the company does in the products they release tells me more than anything Cook says in an interview.
    Blunt
  • Reply 13 of 56
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,242member
    The day Tim can say "in fact, these glasses that I'm wearing right now are AR glasses, and nobody even notices. It's not a barrier. They don't look or feel intrusive. They feel just like part of the real world."
    I think the technology is getting there. But there's still a long way to go from the big Hololens to something light and slick that feel not much different than a regular pair of glasses.
  • Reply 14 of 56
    bulk001 said:
    The Verge did a very on point and sadly pretty accurate story on Siri (http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/12/13251068/walt-mossberg-apple-siri-is-dumb). If they can't get something like Siri working like the competition can with their products, Apple really needs to up their game. Since the iPad, the only thing they have come up with is the Apple Watch which while nice is not yet the game changer that the iPod, iPhone and iPad have been. Yes, I know a lot of dislikes are coming but take the time to read the article. Mossberg is hardly an Apple hater and Apple has already made changes to provide better response to his questions which means they are at least taking the criticisms seriously. 
    I would be interested to know what it is that you expect of Siri since my own personal experience is quite the opposite. I routinely use Siri to have her send messages for me, set reminders and timers, ask for directions or to have her find me points of interest.

    Just last week I was out with friends and simply told Siri: "find me food" since we were all looking for a place to eat. Siri understood and immediately gave me a list of all of the restaurants in my vicinity. At the same time one of my friends tried doing the same with their Galaxy device but it couldn't even parse what he was saying.

    I see a lot of people talking about how Siri is so terrible but I really don't see it, what is so terrible about Siri compared to it's competitors? (Or in general)
    watto_cobracalijahbladebb-15
  • Reply 15 of 56
    One of the keys to quality AR that doesn't make you nauseous is depth perception. Did you notice that the two cameras on Apple's newest flagship, iPhone 7 plus, gives it depth perception, aka "portrait mode"? And did you notice Apple's heavy focus for many years on improving the graphics processing capabilities of the chips they use. 

    Apple, as so often in the past, appears to be incrementally readying its product line to suddenly hit us with cool new functionality, in this case AR. Let's see what Apple has up its sleeve the day they roll out an iPhone in the mid-range price category that has the depth perception and processing power of today's iPhone 7 plus. Maybe it will take one more iteration to get that depth perception accurate enough for everyday AR, but Apple's obviously working hard on the building blocks they will need to rollout "Apple quality" AR.
    cali
  • Reply 16 of 56
    It's a false dichotomy. VR will have its place for seeing what is not in front of you - gaming, movies, watching what others see, e.g. monitoring what a drone sees. AR is for viewing what's in front of you with additional information. There can be overlap - e.g. there's potential for gaming with both, potential for communication with both but mostly one if for getting lost in another world, the other is being present in the current one. AR probably has more potential but I suspect it'll move well beyond the phone, glasses, contacts - into windscreens, windows, mirrors, i guess longer term, some form of holograms and in devices we don't currently have
    davencali
  • Reply 17 of 56
    Donvermo said:
    bulk001 said:
    The Verge did a very on point and sadly pretty accurate story on Siri (http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/12/13251068/walt-mossberg-apple-siri-is-dumb). If they can't get something like Siri working like the competition can with their products, Apple really needs to up their game. Since the iPad, the only thing they have come up with is the Apple Watch which while nice is not yet the game changer that the iPod, iPhone and iPad have been. Yes, I know a lot of dislikes are coming but take the time to read the article. Mossberg is hardly an Apple hater and Apple has already made changes to provide better response to his questions which means they are at least taking the criticisms seriously. 
    I would be interested to know what it is that you expect of Siri since my own personal experience is quite the opposite. I routinely use Siri to have her send messages for me, set reminders and timers, ask for directions or to have her find me points of interest.

    Just last week I was out with friends and simply told Siri: "find me food" since we were all looking for a place to eat. Siri understood and immediately gave me a list of all of the restaurants in my vicinity. At the same time one of my friends tried doing the same with their Galaxy device but it couldn't even parse what he was saying.

    I see a lot of people talking about how Siri is so terrible but I really don't see it, what is so terrible about Siri compared to it's competitors? (Or in general)
    Was your friend using Google Now or some Samsung version? Seems odd that it wouldn't pick up on that phrase.
  • Reply 18 of 56
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member
    Donvermo said:
    bulk001 said:
    The Verge did a very on point and sadly pretty accurate story on Siri (http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/12/13251068/walt-mossberg-apple-siri-is-dumb). If they can't get something like Siri working like the competition can with their products, Apple really needs to up their game. Since the iPad, the only thing they have come up with is the Apple Watch which while nice is not yet the game changer that the iPod, iPhone and iPad have been. Yes, I know a lot of dislikes are coming but take the time to read the article. Mossberg is hardly an Apple hater and Apple has already made changes to provide better response to his questions which means they are at least taking the criticisms seriously. 
    I would be interested to know what it is that you expect of Siri since my own personal experience is quite the opposite. I routinely use Siri to have her send messages for me, set reminders and timers, ask for directions or to have her find me points of interest.

    Just last week I was out with friends and simply told Siri: "find me food" since we were all looking for a place to eat. Siri understood and immediately gave me a list of all of the restaurants in my vicinity. At the same time one of my friends tried doing the same with their Galaxy device but it couldn't even parse what he was saying.

    I see a lot of people talking about how Siri is so terrible but I really don't see it, what is so terrible about Siri compared to it's competitors? (Or in general)
    Was your friend using Google Now or some Samsung version? Seems odd that it wouldn't pick up on that phrase.
    Odd indeed. Took less than 2 seconds on Google Now to get returned results (on a lock screen too) "within 0.5 miles" using that same spoken phrase. While Apple does very well with features and functions it's OK for other platforms to have nice services too. One doesn't have to be bad for another to be considered good. 
  • Reply 19 of 56
    thedbathedba Posts: 441member
    bulk001 said:
    The Verge did a very on point and sadly pretty accurate story on Siri (http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/12/13251068/walt-mossberg-apple-siri-is-dumb). If they can't get something like Siri working like the competition can with their products, Apple really needs to up their game. Since the iPad, the only thing they have come up with is the Apple Watch which while nice is not yet the game changer that the iPod, iPhone and iPad have been. Yes, I know a lot of dislikes are coming but take the time to read the article. Mossberg is hardly an Apple hater and Apple has already made changes to provide better response to his questions which means they are at least taking the criticisms seriously. 
    Funny you bring this up because Gruber did a test of his own with Google assistant and it didn't fare much better.
    Here are his words.
    To be fair, I tried the same two-step sequence (when’s the next debate?; add it to my calendar) with Google Assistant running in the Allo app on Android, and it failed in the same way. I remain unconvinced that Siri is behind the competition, and even if it is, I don’t think it’s by much. ↩︎︎

    cali
  • Reply 20 of 56
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,780member
    I think it's weird that Cook keeps talking about this. Of all the future product directions to talk about, why this one? 

    And if he can talk about this, why can't he give us some guidance on where the Mac is going? 
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