Are you excited that Apple may be launching an augmented reality headset? Tim Cook sure is. You probably already knew that, since Cook has already given his opinion on AR several times. And he does it again, this time on China Daily, a state-run news channel in China.
In an interview, Cook says he “couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities in the” [AR] room. Stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer.” Cook also points out that AR development is in its “very early innings” and that Apple’s App Store has “more than 14,000 ARKit apps.”
A transcript of the AR portion of the interview is posted below. The rest of the interview focuses on Cook’s thoughts on Chinese developers and innovation.
China daily: Chinese consumers are very excited about VR and AR technologies, but some of them are not very satisfied with the products currently available in the market. So what do you think are the key factors for AR products like AR headsets to succeed in the consumer market?
Tim cooks: That’s a great question. I am incredibly excited about AR, as you may know. And the crucial thing for any technology, including AR, is to put humanity first. And that’s what we focus on every day.
For example, right now we have more than 14,000 ARKit apps in the App Store that deliver AR experiences to millions of people around the world. But despite that, I think we’re still in the early stages of how this technology will evolve. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we see in this space. And stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer.
Some consider this confirmation from Cook that there will be an AR headset sooner or later, even if Cook doesn’t say so explicitly. Cook’s statement is a little more emphatic than what he’s said in the past — and Cook has been talking about AR for a long time. In 2016, Cook said we’re going to have “AR experiences every day,” but AR comes with some “really tough technology challenges.” Then rumors of the AR headset trickled in for a while, but picked up again in recent years, and references to realityOS (the supposed headset operating system) are appearing in Mac products, and development has picked up momentum, according to reports.
There was speculation that realityOS would give us a sneak peek at a potential AR headset at WWDC earlier this month, but it didn’t. However, speculation remains high that we’ll see something later this year or early next year, and these comments from Cook will only fuel that fire.