Tim Cook says AR & VR will be revolutionary, but the public will need education

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 30
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been traveling around Europe and spoke about his thoughts on augmented reality, saying it will be profound but that virtual reality only has some specific uses.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook


Cook spoke about augmented reality in a recent interview with Dutch news outlet Bright, saying how important it will be in the future.

"I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything," he said. "Imagine suddenly being able to teach with AR and demonstrate things that way. Or medically, and so on. Like I said, we are really going to look back and think about how we once lived without AR."

He also believes that virtual reality has specific uses but shouldn't make up a person's entire life, as advocates of the "metaverse" seem to be looking for.

"I always think it's important that people understand what something is. And I'm really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is," Cook said. "It's something you can really immerse yourself in. And that can be used in a good way. But I don't think you want to live your whole life that way."

Apple has been helping developers integrate augmented reality into their apps with technologies such as ARKit. Rumors also point to the company launching augmented reality headsets.

Programming as a universal language

Over the years, Apple has launched various initiatives to help educators bring programming into classrooms for all ages, such as its Everyone Can Code program.

Cook sees programming as a universal language. "I see programming as the only universal language. It's the most important language you can learn," he said. "Of course your native language is more important for communication, but a programming language is a way to tap into your creativity."

Technology and politics

The European Union has been drafting a law to make USB-C a standard port for all smartphones, which would force Apple to include one for its iPhone.

While Cook didn't address that topic, he did comment on politics in general.

"The more barriers you put on something, the less innovative it can be," Cook said. "So you have to ask yourself if what you're asking for is really worth it. But I also think there are plenty of really smart politicians out there who understand things just fine. And the role of the electorate in a democracy is to elect people who prefer to see them as representatives."

Tim Cook visiting Europe

Cook has been touring Europe this week, vising Apple Stores, offices, and and "Ted Lasso" football field.

He ended the trip in Naples, Italy, receiving an honorary degree in Innovation and International Management by the Federico II University.

The full interview can be found on Bright's website.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    JP234JP234 Posts: 550member
    I'm going to need Tim Cook to extensively educate me on why I should spend $1,000-3,000 to escape reality. Make no mistake, "virtual reality" and "augmented reality" are not reality. Have you heard of "replacement theory?" AR/VR are a bridge that one day AI will cross, and will no longer need us.
    lkruppmacplusplusanantksundaram
  • Reply 2 of 34
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,409member
    I’ll agree with that. As of right now I have no use for VR, and having used a bit of AR, I don’t see why it would be essential in every day use, like the iPhone has become. Maybe there is a use case, maybe it will unfold like that, but I’m not seeing it yet. (Pun intended).
    macplusplus
  • Reply 3 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,183member
    Science fiction novelists have written about this for decades, humanity giving up the real world for a false one. We’re already on the way with deep fake technology literally able to put words into people’s mouthes they never said and depicting them doing things they never did... and others believing it’s real. Sure, I’d love to have sex with Kate Beckinsale and think it’s real.
    FileMakerFellermacpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 34
    DAalseth said:
    I’ll agree with that. As of right now I have no use for VR, and having used a bit of AR, I don’t see why it would be essential in every day use, like the iPhone has become. Maybe there is a use case, maybe it will unfold like that, but I’m not seeing it yet. (Pun intended).
    Depends on what you mean by "AR". When interpreted more like "pervasive systems which improve your experience of reality" rather than as specifically visual overlays, there's a lot of use. The rhythmic thumping an Apple Watch does to indicate a left turn or right turn, for example. Adaptive transparency mode on noise-cancelling AirPods is technically mediated reality because it can subtract, but very few people use that term anymore.

    Visual AR is much less interesting to me than tactile and auditory AR.
    FileMakerFellerbloggerblogAndy.Hardwakewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 34
    "I see programming as the only universal language"
    I've asked if music is the most universal 'language' ?
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=duSgIcEqUzQ

    Is VR already immensely helpful visualizing spatial design...?
    edited September 30 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 34
    Apple CEO Tim Cook

    Cook spoke about augmented reality in a recent interview with Dutch news outlet Bright, saying how important it will be in the future.

    "... "Imagine suddenly being able to teach with AR and demonstrate things that way. Or medically, and so on. Like I said, we are really going to look back and think about how we once lived without AR."
    Cook is needing to be more specific regarding AR in these types of conversations and interviews. He seems to be very nuanced and vague as well as assuming that AR is understood and the concept is grasped and comprehended. You ask ten people what is AR and you likely will get ten different interpretations. Out in the public domain there are many interprerations, right and wrong on what AR is actually.
    Maybe Apple needs to do a media campaign prior to launch explaining all that is AR to seperate the wheat from the chaff so to speak.
    I imagine eveyone at Apple is leaving no stone un-turned in development of this platform, it will be eciting to watch it unfold!
    IMHO
    edited October 1 FileMakerFellermacpluspluswatto_cobraanantksundaram
  • Reply 7 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Science fiction novelists have written about this for decades, humanity giving up the real world for a false one. We’re already on the way with deep fake technology literally able to put words into people’s mouthes they never said and depicting them doing things they never did... and others believing it’s real. Sure, I’d love to have sex with Kate Beckinsale and think it’s real.
    Maybe the people who choose virtual reality over reality are the people who contribute the least to the real world. So… maybe it’s all good 
    jas99lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 34
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,409member
    zimmie said:
    DAalseth said:
    I’ll agree with that. As of right now I have no use for VR, and having used a bit of AR, I don’t see why it would be essential in every day use, like the iPhone has become. Maybe there is a use case, maybe it will unfold like that, but I’m not seeing it yet. (Pun intended).
    Depends on what you mean by "AR". When interpreted more like "pervasive systems which improve your experience of reality" rather than as specifically visual overlays, there's a lot of use. The rhythmic thumping an Apple Watch does to indicate a left turn or right turn, for example. Adaptive transparency mode on noise-cancelling AirPods is technically mediated reality because it can subtract, but very few people use that term anymore.

    Visual AR is much less interesting to me than tactile and auditory AR.
    I assumed the discussion was primarily about Visual AR. Yeah. Augmenting the other senses has been around for a while, to the point most don’t really think of it like that. 
    FileMakerFellergatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 34
    mobird said:
    Cook is needing to be more specific regarding AR in these types of conversations and interviews. He seems to be very nuanced and vague as well as assuming that AR is understood and the concept is grasped and comprehended. You ask ten people what is AR and you likely will get ten different interpretations. Out in the public domain there are many interprerations, right and wrong on what AR is actually.
    Maybe Apple needs to do a media campaign prior to launch explaining all that is AR to seperate the wheat from the chaff so to speak.
    I imagine eveyone at Apple is leaving no stone un-turned in development of this platform, it will be eciting to watch it unfold!
    IMHO
    You are saying that Tim Cook assumes that AR is understood and the concept is grasped and comprehended, but the headline specifically says “but the public will need education.” So that doesn’t sound like he is assuming anything to me. Speaking for myself, I’m one of the ones who will need to be educated. I cannot visualized this world that Tim is describing. I could visualize the internet that we have today back in the early 90’s. But I can’t visualize this. I don’t get it unless AR doesn’t mean what I think it means. Like for example, one person said that AR is the rhythmic thumping of the Apple Watch. That’s not what I think of as AR. So I don’t know, I guess I’ll find out in a few years why AR is so essential that we can’t live without it.
    edited October 1 FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 34
    To some extent, we already live in augmented reality: we can refer to thermometers to gauge the temperature against an objective scale, we use precise time measurements to judge the time of day (or night)/day of week/time of year, we have devices that let us watch and listen to recordings wherever we go, we can "see" things outside the visible spectrum, etc, etc - what we're going to be dealing with is a much more immediate and personal interaction with huge volumes of information that we've never had access to before.

    The challenge is to summarise or abstract away anything superfluous, to present only the meaningful to the user - and that has to be context-aware because we can no longer assume that the user is sitting at a desk in front of a dedicated device. Plus there's the usual issue of personal tastes.

    Advantage: Apple.
    jas99watto_cobraanantksundaram
  • Reply 11 of 34
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,131member
    JP234 said:
    I'm going to need Tim Cook to extensively educate me on why I should spend $1,000-3,000 to escape reality. 
    It's actually much worse than that.  You are not only paying $3000, but you are paying that money for a heavy gizmo on your head!  That's crazy.

    Now if someone wants to create a Holodeck experience like Star Trek TNG, bring it on!  But a $3k device on my head?  Absolutely not!
  • Reply 12 of 34
    I know this will not be in the initial or even the 5th version of the A/R glasses but it would be cool to have binocular zoom vision, infrared vision, night vision.
    jas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 34
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,551member
    I’m not following Tim’s reasoning on programming as a universal language, much less the “only universal language.” We have these things called “books” that have been around for a while now. They embody a form of human imagination, creativity, and expression that can escape the limitations of the physical world and create new worlds. The creative essence of these “books” can be conveyed in any number of written and even spoken languages, much like a computer program can be written in any number of programming languages and still deliver the same consumable results. 

    Many of the same attributes that apply to creative writing can also be applied to art, music, poetry, and sure, programming. But I wouldn’t say that any of these forms of human expression are in contention to be declared the only universal language. Perhaps what Tim is alluding to is the perception that programming languages are culturally agnostic, at least at the present time. As more humans engage in programming and as programming languages evolve beyond their current primitive state that is still very limited by the machines on which the programs execute, perhaps this situation will change.

    The author of a story, poem, novel, etc., is not constrained by the medium on which the author’s creative contribution is hosted. The author of a computer program is constrained by the characteristics and capabilities of the machines that execute the created contribution. The current state of programming is analogous to a recipe rather than a novel or story. Programming is still largely a vocational undertaking, not an open ended or unbounded creative one.

    Application development, which includes programming, is more analogous to creating a novel. Maybe that’s what Tim is getting at, but saying that programming is a universal language is like saying writing is a universal language. Programming is a subset of writing and just like writing there are many different dialects. Maybe Tim thinks all programmers only write their programs in Swift. Not sure where he’s coming from.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 34
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,574member
    DAalseth said:
    I’ll agree with that. As of right now I have no use for VR, and having used a bit of AR, I don’t see why it would be essential in every day use, like the iPhone has become. Maybe there is a use case, maybe it will unfold like that, but I’m not seeing it yet. (Pun intended).

    Anything that's digital/virtual and makes you aware of something in the real world is a form of A/R. Such as GPS telling you where you are located in the real world. Or a compass letting you know which direction you're facing. Having your lights come on when you enter a room or your doors lock when you leave your house. Asking Siri what song is playing. Your Apple Watch tapping your wrist to tell you which way to turn when you're walking. Or "Find My" being able to direct you to your devices. Etc.

    There are all things that either affect or use something in the real world to enhance your perception and understanding of or interaction with your reality. Sensory, auditory, visually, proximity awareness; these all play a part in A/R.
    dewmeStrangeDaysFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 34
    tshapitshapi Posts: 358member
    A/R is essentially like 3D internet And Apps.   It’s as simple as that.  I can visualize it.   Imaging wearing A/R glasses and walking down the street and knowing whose in tinder, match. Being able to swap contact information with people your passing. Seeing coupons and deals for stores you pass.  It’s the apps on your phone tied in even more with NFC. Imagine going into the wilderness and knowing what insects and animals you see without having to search them.   Going to a restaurant and possibly finding a recipe to the dish your enjoying.   And so on.  I see where A/R will take us. 

    Accidents for example.  I imagine at some point we can look at a car and maybe know what’s wrong with it after an accident. Rough cost for repair and parts.  
    edited October 1 jas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 34
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,551member
    mjtomlin said:
    DAalseth said:
    I’ll agree with that. As of right now I have no use for VR, and having used a bit of AR, I don’t see why it would be essential in every day use, like the iPhone has become. Maybe there is a use case, maybe it will unfold like that, but I’m not seeing it yet. (Pun intended).

    Anything that's digital/virtual and makes you aware of something in the real world is a form of A/R. Such as GPS telling you where you are located in the real world. Or a compass letting you know which direction you're facing. Having your lights come on when you enter a room or your doors lock when you leave your house. Asking Siri what song is playing. Your Apple Watch tapping your wrist to tell you which way to turn when you're walking. Or "Find My" being able to direct you to your devices. Etc.

    There are all things that either affect or use something in the real world to enhance your perception and understanding of or interaction with your reality. Sensory, auditory, visually, proximity awareness; these all play a part in A/R.
    The attributes you’re describing are also part of the larger notion of ambient intelligence. Strapping a computer onto your face or embedding one into eyewear is a little bit more intentional, but probably not so far removed because you still have to pre-stage the computing devices, sensors, and actuators needed to allow ambient intelligence to work. I think it’s all very interesting from a technological perspective and having Apple involved gives me more confidence that the greatest pitfalls will be avoided, like privacy concerns and surveillance. If I had to rate where various proponents of ambient intelligence are at today I’d say that Amazon is further along than most. 

    Considering how creeped out some folks are about Amazon’s approach I’d say that Apple will follow a more deliberate and measured path, which is kind of what Tim Cook is alluding to here. Facebook / Meta is at the other end of the spectrum, their metaverse headset will probably include a feeding tube and optional catheter or reusable adult diaper so you never have to unplug. 
    edited October 1 FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 34
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,836moderator
    jdw said:
    JP234 said:
    I'm going to need Tim Cook to extensively educate me on why I should spend $1,000-3,000 to escape reality. 
    It's actually much worse than that.  You are not only paying $3000, but you are paying that money for a heavy gizmo on your head!  That's crazy.

    Now if someone wants to create a Holodeck experience like Star Trek TNG, bring it on!  But a $3k device on my head?  Absolutely not!
    There have been no details or price confirmed about the product yet. The following AR glasses are available just now for $379:

    https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/nreal-air-ar-glasses-united-states-launch-price-ios-support/
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BF5LKP5Q
    https://www.nreal.ai/air/



    These currently work with Android but support iOS and Mac with an adaptor and they use their Nebula software for the UI.

    They give the wearer huge virtual displays. Imagine watching Lord of the Rings on a 100"+ virtual OLED display anywhere you happen to be.

    The iPhone 14 has all the hardware needed for AR and this is $799. The tricky part is the battery as it's so big:


    The 3nm process will allow 30% power reduction vs N5 and they only need to aim for 5 hour battery life vs 20 hours on iPhone so they can get away with a battery that is 1/5th the size. This will charge quickly e.g 30 mins for 5 hours use and if the battery can be swapped (detachable leg), it would allow continual use.

    I expect the device will be untethered, unlike the above glasses, it will likely launch with 3nm hardware so early 2023, it will have its own OS and I don't think the price will start above $999. This is where things like Continuity and Universal Control will work well because it will allow controlling a Mac/iPad/iPhone seamlessly. When people try them on in store and see an Apple TV+ show/movie being broadcast at 100"+ in front of them, that will be enough for people to want them. Students will love them in their dorm rooms for streaming movies.
    edited October 1 StrangeDaysFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 34
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,836moderator
    dewme said:
    I’m not following Tim’s reasoning on programming as a universal language, much less the “only universal language.”
    "I see programming as the only universal language"
    I've asked if music is the most universal 'language' ?
    Music and art are universal languages of emotion, programming is a universal language of logic and it's a way that people can collaborate productively without knowing much of each others' spoken language.

    Part of the reason for this though is that it is dominated by English speakers (especially the language and API developers) and so variable/class/function names are in English text. When variables are non-English and especially in a different character set like Chinese, Arabic or Cyrillic, it becomes a lot less of a universal language as the following page shows:

    https://wy-lang.org

    Here's one in French:

    https://github.com/javascriptdezero/module-debutant/blob/master/cours/commun/validateur.js

    The structure is fairly easy to understand across languages (ironically Swift messes this part around compared to most other languages) but the text is most universal when it's in English.

    It would be more accurate to say that forcing everyone to learn basic English and Math structures is a universal way to communicate logic but it's still a meaningful statement. Computers play such an integral role in almost all jobs worldwide that it's important to have a common international standard so that everyone can contribute.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 19 of 34
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,551member
    Marvin said:
    dewme said:
    I’m not following Tim’s reasoning on programming as a universal language, much less the “only universal language.”
    "I see programming as the only universal language"
    I've asked if music is the most universal 'language' ?
    Music and art are universal languages of emotion, programming is a universal language of logic and it's a way that people can collaborate productively without knowing much of each others' spoken language.

    Part of the reason for this though is that it is dominated by English speakers (especially the language and API developers) and so variable/class/function names are in English text. When variables are non-English and especially in a different character set like Chinese, Arabic or Cyrillic, it becomes a lot less of a universal language as the following page shows:

    https://wy-lang.org

    Here's one in French:

    https://github.com/javascriptdezero/module-debutant/blob/master/cours/commun/validateur.js

    The structure is fairly easy to understand across languages (ironically Swift messes this part around compared to most other languages) but the text is most universal when it's in English.

    It would be more accurate to say that forcing everyone to learn basic English and Math structures is a universal way to communicate logic but it's still a meaningful statement. Computers play such an integral role in almost all jobs worldwide that it's important to have a common international standard so that everyone can contribute.
    All good points. There are actually some programming languages, and more specifically "domain specific languages" (DSLs), that have been specifically designed to avoid the common pitfalls that are inherent to culturally aligned written and spoken languages. Avoiding these pitfalls is very important in problem domains where miscommunication or differences in semantics could easily lead to catastrophic outcomes. The ones that I'm most familiar with are the standards-based ones used in industrial programming applications as defined in the IEC 61131-3 international standard.

    This is not to say that even within the realm of DSLs like the standards-based ones used for industrial programming there are not opportunities for miscommunication or translation issues. While the graphical and structured languages like LD, SFC, and FBD provide a spoken language agnostic representation of program flow, they still have names, tags, and data representations for things like dates, times, and engineering units, that are language/locale specific. Having worked on the connectivity, compilation, and execution side of these systems I can say for certain that there is a heck of a lot of programming logic required to deal with the differences in a lossless manner, especially when the programming application provides the ability to mix & match languages within a single application and/or convert from one language to another. On the implementation side programmers generally pick one normative representation for an application and convert to the different representations in the presentation layer, much like desktop or mobile application programmers use placeholders for locale-dependent strings and units and dynamically load the actual locale-specific strings and units from a separate resource repository based on the locale the app is running in.

    I guess what I'm saying is that it's very difficult to say that any programming language is truly universal, but programming languages are always trying to move in a direction that reduces the ambiguity that is inherent to spoken and written languages. For anyone who lives behind or below the abstractions that programming languages and APIs present, there are so many hurdles to jump over and the universality appears to be somewhat porous and fraught with many potential issues to be avoided, not just at the text/string representation level but with all those other things like engineering units, e.g., temperature, pressure, distance.

    I'll settle on an acceptance that Tim Cook is looking at this from a higher and somewhat abstract level and is comfortable ignoring the man behind the curtain. Those of us who are on the other side of the curtain know that the abstraction is not perfect and the notion of universality has a few holes in it that can survive even with translation. Not a big deal, just a practical matter that must be handled.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 20 of 34
    I don't get it, he says the average person does not know what the Metaverse is and AR & VR is the future but needs education.
    The same argument (education) could be used by Facebook & Co regarding the Metaverse...
    watto_cobra
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