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AR technology is not there yet and Apple is in no hurry to be first: Tim Cook

Apple has patents to build AR hardware, and employs 1,000 people in the division.

  • Published: October 13, 2017 12:43 PM IST

Apple CEO Tim Cook thinks that there isn’t enough good tech yet for augmented reality (AR) glasses. This essentially means that Apple’s AR headset which the world has been waiting for — for a while now — could be further delayed. In an interview to The Independent, Cook said that “the technology [AR] itself doesn’t exist” such that companies can make headsets “in a quality way.” And Apple is clear that it wouldn’t build an AR product unless it can deliver “a great experience”.

While Apple holds a patent for AR glasses, and has already employed more than 1,000 people in the division, Cook stated in no uncertain terms that there was no rush to release a product. “We don’t give a rat’s about being first. We want to be the best,” he said. “Anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with. Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied,” he added, making it amply clear that despite the increasing buzz around AR, the world may not be ready for it yet. ALSO READ: ARKit: A definitive leap towards making augmented reality mainstream

Now, what really ails AR glasses? In Cook’s view, two things – the field of view and the quality of their displays. From the current lot of AR headsets available in the market, Microsoft’s HoloLens offers a limited field of view, and is also uncomfortably large. Google Glass, of course, was a non-starter. And there’s Meta that offers a slightly cheaper headset, but it looks “ridiculous”, according to The Verge. “The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face — there’s huge challenges with that,” Cook described. ALSO READ: Microsoft HoloLens 2 to also feature in-house designed AI processor

Apple might have got a head start into AR with the launch of the ARKit that allows developers to build augmented reality games for the App Store. Users who have iOS 11 running on their iPhones can not only add AR stickers in their pictures via the Camera app (like in Snapchat), they can also download multiple AR apps from the kit and use them to know the weather, or in their fitness regimes, or while shopping. The ARKit is supported on all Apple devices that run A9, A10, and A11 processors. Essentially, iPhone 6s onward, it can be accessed.

  • Published Date: October 13, 2017 12:43 PM IST