Apple's Cook repeats benefits of AR in interview, says AR glasses tech not mature

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook continued his European tour on Tuesday with an interview discussing the benefits of augmented reality and ARKit, which with iOS 11 and a slate of new iPhones has become a major focus for the Cupertino tech giant.




In a rambling interview conducted by The Independent, Cook mostly echoed statements and commentary dating back to this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, when Apple introduced ARKit to the world.

The Apple chief has since sat down with multiple publications to discuss the tenets of AR, with a keen eye on what Apple brings to the table in terms of iOS and its massive installed user base. As Cook has said, and reiterated in today's interview, iPhone became the world's largest AR platform overnight when iOS 11 launched last month.

Just as important is ARKit, a customized toolkit of APIs with tight hardware integration that allows developers to roll out quality AR apps with relative ease.

Cook views AR as an important, but still gestating, technology that promises to touch everyone and everything. As he has done in the past, the executive likened AR to existing successful Apple technologies like multitouch on iPhone and the App Store.

"Think back to 2008, when the App Store went live. There was the initial round of apps and people looked at them and said, 'this is not anything, mobile apps are not going to take off,'" Cook said. "And then step by step things start to move. And it is sort of a curve, it was just exponential -- and now you couldn't imagine your life without apps. Your health is on one app, your financials, your shopping, your news, your entertainment -- it's everything. AR is like that. It will be that dramatic."

Aside from oft-repeated platitudes regarding AR's potential, Cook offered a glimpse at what Apple might be investigating in terms of expanding the technology beyond the iOS ecosystem. Of note, Cook was asked about the possibility of Apple branded AR glasses or goggles, perhaps a device similar in form to Microsoft's HoloLens mixed reality headset.

"There are rumors and stuff about companies working on those -- we obviously don't talk about what we're working on, but today I can tell you the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way," Cook said. "The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face -- there's huge challenges with that."

He went on to say technical challenges, like optics that provide an adequate field of view and "the display itself," stand in the way of building a consumer product. Cook repeated Apple's mantra of being the best, not the first, at delivering new technologies to its customers.

"We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."

Apple has long been rumored to bring a pair of glasses to market, though rumors have shifted the device from a VR delivery system to AR since the company thrust itself into the augmented reality market. Patents seem to back up those claims, but it should be noted that Apple actively investigates many bleeding edge technologies, most of which never see the light of day.

Most recently, reports in August claimed the company is experimenting with "several different types" of AR glasses, each of which varies in style and functionality. If true, Apple is developing multiple systems concurrently, not dissimilar to the original iPhone.
lolliver

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    edited October 2017 razorpitgatorguy
  • Reply 2 of 20
    netroxnetrox Posts: 533member
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    Because it's too soon and not cost effective? Remember, there are reports of depth cameras being in a tight supply.
    lolliverpatchythepirate
  • Reply 3 of 20
    netrox said:
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    Because it's too soon and not cost effective? Remember, there are reports of depth cameras being in a tight supply.
    Which is what I was alluding to with that quote. If he didn't care about being first, why not just wait until the technology was ready?

    I'm not upset that Apple launched ARKit, but I don't think that quote is completely true with respect to not caring about being first.  In this case, Apple wants to get on relatively early to grow the ecosystem and evolve the platform as new technology becomes more available to the mainstream.
    edited October 2017 razorpitgatorguy
  • Reply 4 of 20
    I'm played around with a couple of the AR apps, but I'm not really sold on AR without AR glasses.  I expect that it was released now to get software built ahead of AR glasses.

  • Reply 5 of 20
    EngDev said:
    netrox said:
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    Because it's too soon and not cost effective? Remember, there are reports of depth cameras being in a tight supply.
    Which is what I was alluding to with that quote. If he didn't care about being first, why not just wait until the technology was ready?

    I'm not upset that Apple launched ARKit, but I don't think that quote is completely true with respect to not caring about being first.  In this case, Apple wants to get on relatively early to grow the ecosystem and evolve the platform as new technology becomes more available to the mainstream.
    I think most are misunderstanding what he said..
    He never said they hate to be first... he only said that they dont give crap about being first.  Another words,   When quality is there they will release... be it first or whatever .
    lolliversully54canukstormradarthekatStrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 20
    sennensennen Posts: 1,457member
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    "Almost essential"? Not really. Even on a 6S ARKit is providing a great experience. I'm not interested in AR/VR glasses at all at this point in time.
    edited October 2017 Rayz2016lolliver
  • Reply 7 of 20
    nhtnht Posts: 4,005member
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    There is depth sensing hardware on the rear camera or it wouldn't be able to focus.  The iPhone sensor has many PDAF points that can be used to generate a depth map. 
    lolliverradarthekatStrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 20
    sennen said:
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    "Almost essential"? Not really. Even on a 6S ARKit is providing a great experience. I'm not interested in AR/VR glasses at all at this point in time.
    A new experience, not a great one. Including depth allows for a much better AR experience where the environment can accurately impact the interactions and visualizations. While a lot of the ARKit apps are novel, a large number simply provide a VR experience with the backwash being your room.

    Don't get me wrong, this is all a huge step in the right direction, but it has a long way to go.

    A similar analogy would be adding semi-autonomous features to a car. It's wonderful, but it's just not fully autonomous.
  • Reply 9 of 20
    nht said:
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    There is depth sensing hardware on the rear camera or it wouldn't be able to focus.  The iPhone sensor has many PDAF points that can be used to generate a depth map. 
    Not to the extent required for a proper AR experience. This is what sets Tango devices or Hololens apart from hardware using the more mainstream ARKit, or in Google's case, ARCore.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    sennen said:
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    "Almost essential"? Not really. Even on a 6S ARKit is providing a great experience. I'm not interested in AR/VR glasses at all at this point in time.
    I don't think most consumers would be happy with AR/VR glasses. They sure seemed to hate to use glasses to watch 3D TV. So, Apple is waiting for when the time is right which means they'll be behind all the other major tech companies and their early-bird-catches-the-worm offerings. Anyway, I don't claim to have any answers. I'd prefer not to have to use glasses but if they're light and comfortable I can deal with it. I truly hope Apple has an advantage in AR because little else seems to be working out for Apple in terms of investor confidence. Hopefully, Apple A11 Bionic chip can provide the power most Android smartphones can't possibly match.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    EngDev said:
    nht said:
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    There is depth sensing hardware on the rear camera or it wouldn't be able to focus.  The iPhone sensor has many PDAF points that can be used to generate a depth map. 
    Not to the extent required for a proper AR experience. This is what sets Tango devices or Hololens apart from hardware using the more mainstream ARKit, or in Google's case, ARCore.
    Then you need devices “apart” from what are actually available. Apple does it with the available devices. Why did they release it? Because scale matters.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,124moderator
    EngDev said:
    netrox said:
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    Because it's too soon and not cost effective? Remember, there are reports of depth cameras being in a tight supply.
    Which is what I was alluding to with that quote. If he didn't care about being first, why not just wait until the technology was ready?

    I'm not upset that Apple launched ARKit, but I don't think that quote is completely true with respect to not caring about being first.  In this case, Apple wants to get on relatively early to grow the ecosystem and evolve the platform as new technology becomes more available to the mainstream.
    Except... Apple is providing depth sensing hardware.  The fact ARKit apps will also run on the iPhone 6S, 7, iPad Pros and the iPhone SE allows users of those devices to get a taste of the tech, providing incentive to upgrade to the more capable models that exist, in the form of iPhone 6S+,7+ and X, and models to come, in the form of future iPad and iPhone models.  
    edited October 2017 jony0
  • Reply 13 of 20
    sreesree Posts: 63member
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    Not sure you are making sense. 

    ARKit was launched recently just a few months before launch of iPhone X with depth sensing cameras. The lead time was needed to get apps ready by the time the phone came to market. That it is partially supported on older models is an irrelevant detail. If it was launched along with iPhone6/6s/7 etc, then your comment makes sense.
    theothergeoffStrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 20
    I don't get it...
    So, what is the big deal about AR?  Perhaps I am unimaginative, but just where and how will it be used?

    I can see three uses:
    1)  Games  (yawn...  Sorry, excuse me....)
    2)  Driving maps that incorporate the view out your windshield to show you where to go...
    3)  Help tutorials -- such has how to tear down and repair a computer or a lawn mower.

    It creates an enormous burden on computer hardware and software, but I don't see any enormous benefit to society.  But, Apple is so fired up about it, that I realize that I may be missing something...  Hopefully I am.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    I don't get it...
    So, what is the big deal about AR?  Perhaps I am unimaginative, but just where and how will it be used?

    I can see three uses:
    1)  Games  (yawn...  Sorry, excuse me....)
    2)  Driving maps that incorporate the view out your windshield to show you where to go...
    3)  Help tutorials -- such has how to tear down and repair a computer or a lawn mower.

    It creates an enormous burden on computer hardware and software, but I don't see any enormous benefit to society.  But, Apple is so fired up about it, that I realize that I may be missing something...  Hopefully I am.
    the burden is going away.   the A11 has a neural engine built in. GPU's are 'cheap'   The software is the burden, and that's just evolving frameworks at this point.  Eventually, it will be  a couple lines of code to identify a curveball from a slider in a couple ms;-) 

    as for 1)...  given you 'yawn' at this, I won't go there, but in the military, this is considered 'training.'   And then, we go all Terminator on the battlefield. (All technology is driven out of military or porn;-) ).

    obviously self driving cars is the outgrowth of #2.  But then it moves into say, museums,  national park guides,  hiking trails interpretations, education, even shopping (overlaying a 3D map of the stores, and then on the employee side... stocking shelves, inventorying)

    your 3 will evolve into 4) task quality augmentation.  
    I just thought of a simple one:  Pharmacy QA.   If I'm 'wearing' AR glasses, and I visually scan the scrip label for drug dose and count. and the glasses verify the pill ('pink oval with 3|SG on one side'), and the count as I fill the bottle. Law says the pharmacist has to bottle these pills.  but in today's 'drug driven' medical market, that's a lot of scrip to fill a day (the 'pill mill').  The pharmacist of today is a high stress low pay job, so quality suffers.  Heckuva difference between 15 and 30mg of oxycontin, and putting 33 pills in a bottle is a federal offense.

    I'm also thinking surgery, overlaying say, an MRI into your field of vision, to help augment and identify nerves and ligaments critical to avoid... 




    jony0
  • Reply 16 of 20
    I don't get it...
    So, what is the big deal about AR?  Perhaps I am unimaginative, but just where and how will it be used?

    I can see three uses:
    1)  Games  (yawn...  Sorry, excuse me....)
    2)  Driving maps that incorporate the view out your windshield to show you where to go...
    3)  Help tutorials -- such has how to tear down and repair a computer or a lawn mower.

    It creates an enormous burden on computer hardware and software, but I don't see any enormous benefit to society.  But, Apple is so fired up about it, that I realize that I may be missing something...  Hopefully I am.
    Apple is so fired up about it because they can do it... without sophisticated hardware. Isn’t it good that millions of iPhones and iPads (well, A9 and above) turn suddenly to magic windows showing the world differently?
    edited October 2017 jony0
  • Reply 17 of 20
    sennen said:
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    "Almost essential"? Not really. Even on a 6S ARKit is providing a great experience. I'm not interested in AR/VR glasses at all at this point in time.
    I don't think most consumers would be happy with AR/VR glasses. They sure seemed to hate to use glasses to watch 3D TV. So, Apple is waiting for when the time is right which means they'll be behind all the other major tech companies and their early-bird-catches-the-worm offerings. Anyway, I don't claim to have any answers. I'd prefer not to have to use glasses but if they're light and comfortable I can deal with it. I truly hope Apple has an advantage in AR because little else seems to be working out for Apple in terms of investor confidence. Hopefully, Apple A11 Bionic chip can provide the power most Android smartphones can't possibly match.
    It'll take some time but with miniaturisation, I think people will be ok with glasses. Everybody is happy to have a pair of glassess hanging off their face the whole summer so if you can build AR into those, people will use them. Remember everyone used to think people on the brick phones looked like total A holes
  • Reply 18 of 20
    I don't get it...
    So, what is the big deal about AR?  Perhaps I am unimaginative, but just where and how will it be used?

    I can see three uses:
    1)  Games  (yawn...  Sorry, excuse me....)
    2)  Driving maps that incorporate the view out your windshield to show you where to go...
    3)  Help tutorials -- such has how to tear down and repair a computer or a lawn mower.

    It creates an enormous burden on computer hardware and software, but I don't see any enormous benefit to society.  But, Apple is so fired up about it, that I realize that I may be missing something...  Hopefully I am.
    4) Shopping - e.g. shopping lists, product info and price comparisons in your vision as you look at products, AR mirrors at clothing stores
    5) Travel - not just directions while driving but while walking - public transport updates, restaurant reviews, menus, translations
    6) Sports - directions when riding/running or racing against yourself or other people that have done the same route
    7) Photography/video - not exactly AR but wearable cameras on glasses that capture interesting moments
    8) Notifications - similar to the watch

    + Plenty of use cases that I can't think of or even imagine yet

  • Reply 19 of 20
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,432member
    Here's a link to the interview:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/apple-iphone-tim-cook-interview-features-new-augmented-reality-ar-arkit-a7993566.html

    Edit: Not really the interview, but a write-up of it. Nice think piece from The Independent's tech editor.

    Not to be missed are the hilarious comments. A collection of the bitterest hard-loser Brits that you could imagine. Worse than MacRumors.

    Anyway, it strkes me that Tim is thinking about micro LED as the missing technology necessary for wearable AR, along with eye-tracking, which will allow the computer to sense exactly where in the 3D field you are looking. Combined with Search and something like Wikipedia, this would be totally revolutionary as an interface with the world.
    edited October 2017 tmay
  • Reply 20 of 20
    EngDev said:

    "We don't give a rat's about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would se[e] on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with," Cook said. "Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."
    Then why did they launch ARKit on devices without depth sensing hardware for the rear camera? It's something that's almost essential for a great AR experience.
    iPads and iPhones can sense depth with just the camera optics alone.
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