Apple's Tim Cook says tech doesn't yet exist to do AR glasses properly, downplays rivals

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Apple CEO Tim Cook once again hinted at the prospect of augmented reality glasses in an interview published on Wednesday, while quashing the idea of an announcement in the near future -- and indirectly, the efforts of rivals like Microsoft.

Google Glass, a precursor to modern AR technology.
Google Glass, a precursor to modern AR technology.


"There are rumours and gossip about companies working on that, and we obviously don't talk about what we work on," Cook explained to Vogue. "But today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way.

"We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences," he continued. "Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with."

Cook made nearly identical statements about AR glasses in an Independent interview released earlier this week. Both sets of comments suggest that Cook is unimpressed with the Mixed Reality platform being advanced by Microsoft, whose partners have already announced headsets.

Apple's current AR offerings are comparatively modest, mostly involving ARKit and camera and sensor refinements on the iPhone 8 and X. Talking to Vogue though, Cook proposed that over time, AR features in apps "will be as key as having a website." He addressed the magazine's fashion focus by noting that unspecified partners are already planning on building clothing databases that would let people scan an item and quickly buy it, without having to figure out its name first.

In August a report said that Apple has been experimenting with "several different types" of AR glasses. These include versions that would require a phone, and others that would have their own displays, like Microsoft's HoloLens.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    ...and no one needs more than one button on their mouse...
    brucemc
  • Reply 2 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,337member
    This is how it always goes with the industry. As soon as the some aspect of the tech is possible companies try to make a name for themselves by being first to market and they ultimately fail. Then, years later after the technology—and often multiple technologies—mature a company—often Apple, but not always—comes out with a refined product that integrates HW and SW that they spent many years refining to market.
    lkruppStrangeDayslolliverpscooter63JWSCcornchipjony0
  • Reply 3 of 26
    jorgie said:
    ...and no one needs more than one button on their mouse...
    Completely different. Nowhere in the article does Cook say that glasses (or something like glasses) aren't the right approach.

    “There are rumors and gossip about companies working on that, and we obviously don't talk about what we work on. But today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way,”

    That's very different from "and we think putting a screen on your face is a ridiculous solution in search of a problem" or similarly dismissive statement.

    edited October 2017 SoliStrangeDayslolliverpscooter63jony0
  • Reply 4 of 26
    jorgie said:
    ...and no one needs more than one button on their mouse...
    Come upstairs and look around. It's 2017.
    randominternetpersonSolihypoluxacaliStrangeDaysfastasleeplolliverpscooter63cornchipjony0
  • Reply 5 of 26
    Interesting, I don't see Apple scared very much.  Suspicious that he did this just prior to the Oculus announcement.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 6 of 26
    Can't wait to get my iPhone X! It marks a milestone for the next decade.
    calilolliverpatchythepirate
  • Reply 7 of 26
    Interesting, I don't see Apple scared very much.  Suspicious that he did this just prior to the Oculus announcement.
    LOL.  You think that Vogue article was slapped together this morning because someone tipped off Cook that Oculus was going to announce something?
    macpluspluscaliStrangeDaysbrucemcfastasleeplolliverRayz2016pscooter63cornchipjony0
  • Reply 8 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,337member
    Interesting, I don't see Apple scared very much.  Suspicious that he did this just prior to the Oculus announcement.
    LOL.  You think that Vogue article was slapped together this morning because someone tipped off Cook that Oculus was going to announce something?
    Yeah, it was probably brought up because Cook has mentioned AR in the past and the A11 Bionic as well as the iPhone X are clearly embracing AR. Plus, isn't Oculus focused on VR, not AR?
    edited October 2017 randominternetpersonrob bonnerStrangeDaysmacxpressRayz2016pscooter63JWSCjony0
  • Reply 9 of 26
    Interesting, I don't see Apple scared very much.  Suspicious that he did this just prior to the Oculus announcement.
    Oculus is still a view-obscuring and very confining piece of VR hardware. They're like wearing a scuba mask. Supposedly what Cook would ideally like to see would be AR glasses that are indistinguishable from regular glasses, other than the Apple logo.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 10 of 26
    netroxnetrox Posts: 575member
    Its like the Xerox GUI... it was amazing of what it could do but the reality is that the Xerox GUI is not that intuitive at all. Apple made a GUI that is much more intuitive. I imagine the same with AR glasses.
    welshdogStrangeDayschasmlolliverrandominternetpersonJWSCjony0
  • Reply 11 of 26
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    jorgie said:
    ...and no one needs more than one button on their mouse...
    I agree, which is what makes MacBooks and the Magic Mouse so beautiful!
    lolliverrandominternetpersoncornchip
  • Reply 12 of 26
    Interesting, I don't see Apple scared very much.  Suspicious that he did this just prior to the Oculus announcement.
    We still don’t. You may, if that’s the narrative you’re pushing today. 
    lolliverpscooter63
  • Reply 13 of 26
    chasmchasm Posts: 581member
    When you look at that picture of Google Glass, remember that there was a HUGE battery and processing unit hidden behind the ear for it. Leaving aside, for the moment, the creepiness of glasses with a camera in them that is continuously on (as with GG), this is probably a big part of what Cook is referring to as a stumbling block for a true glasses wearable. I think we'll get there, I think Apple is unlikely to be the first to solve the problems, but we'll get there -- it will just take WAY longer than people think it will.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 14 of 26
    Soli said:
    Interesting, I don't see Apple scared very much.  Suspicious that he did this just prior to the Oculus announcement.
    LOL.  You think that Vogue article was slapped together this morning because someone tipped off Cook that Oculus was going to announce something?
    Yeah, it was probably brought up because Cook has mentioned AR in the past and the A11 Bionic as well as the iPhone X are clearly embracing AR. Plus, isn't Oculus focused on VR, not AR?
    Nonsense. Magazines don’t work this way. Or interviews with publications at Condé Nast - literally everything in vogue needs approval even ads
  • Reply 15 of 26
    jorgie said:
    ...and no one needs more than one button on their mouse...
    My blu-ray player remote has something like 50 buttons half of which do nothing or displays "operation not permitted."

    The old smartphones had a qwerty keyboard and more buttons crammed into it before iPhone replaced it with a single home button and multitouch.

    Extra buttons is how an engineer solves a design problem.
    lolliverRayz2016pscooter63randominternetpersonpatchythepirateJWSCcornchipjony0
  • Reply 16 of 26
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,815member
    I definitely agree with him on the technical feasibility of AR glasses. We definitely aren't there yet. 

    I can easily imagine that AR will be very valuable once AR glasses become feasible. But for now, everything AR looks like an unimportant gimmick to me. 
  • Reply 17 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,337member
    Soli said:
    Interesting, I don't see Apple scared very much.  Suspicious that he did this just prior to the Oculus announcement.
    LOL.  You think that Vogue article was slapped together this morning because someone tipped off Cook that Oculus was going to announce something?
    Yeah, it was probably brought up because Cook has mentioned AR in the past and the A11 Bionic as well as the iPhone X are clearly embracing AR. Plus, isn't Oculus focused on VR, not AR?
    Nonsense. Magazines don’t work this way. Or interviews with publications at Condé Nast - literally everything in vogue needs approval even ads
    So tell us, what "approval" process occurred that would make and interview that occurred well before today's publication in your mind makes this a preventive rebuttal to an unknown announcement by Oculus? To me, it sounds like you're talking about the most bizarre conspiracy theory imaginable if you think that anything in this interview has anything to do with what Oculus stated today.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,605member
    Interesting, I don't see Apple scared very much.  Suspicious that he did this just prior to the Oculus announcement.
    The Oculus what?
    cornchip
  • Reply 19 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,605member

    Interesting, I don't see Apple scared very much.  Suspicious that he did this just prior to the Oculus announcement.
    Oh, I see!

    What you’re saying is, that Apple released this interview because they’re scared of this:



    Mmm.  Not sure…

    This is not what they’re aiming for. And there’s no point in releasing “scared” interviews now when they’re literally years away from a product of their own. Apple’s AR glasses won’t see the light of day until they can shrink the iPhoneX camera array until it can fit behind a spectacle frame, or they can come up with a spectacle lense that is a camera as well as a screen. 

    edited October 2017
  • Reply 20 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,605member

    chasm said:
    When you look at that picture of Google Glass, remember that there was a HUGE battery and processing unit hidden behind the ear for it. Leaving aside, for the moment, the creepiness of glasses with a camera in them that is continuously on (as with GG), this is probably a big part of what Cook is referring to as a stumbling block for a true glasses wearable. I think we'll get there, I think Apple is unlikely to be the first to solve the problems, but we'll get there -- it will just take WAY longer than people think it will.
    You know, it didn’t even occur to me that there was extra gubbins attached to the Google Glass. I though it was all in that big camera module. 
    edited October 2017
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