Apple CEO Tim Cook Wants to Enhance Conversations With Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is 'critically important' to Apple's future.
Brad Bergan
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking at an Austin event.Austin Community College / Flickr

Everyone knows two basic facts about Apple: It's a company at the forefront of mobile and computing technology. It is also extremely cagey about unannounced products, always aiming for a knockout blow with every announcement.

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook slipped a few thoughts on Apple's plans for augmented reality and autonomous cars during a Monday interview with Kara Swisher of The New York Times.

Apple CEO 'already sees' AR taking off in health and education

Augmented reality (AR) is "critically important" to Apple's future, according to Bill Gates' reply to Swisher's perspective on the technology. Gates also said AR might be used to enhance conversations.

"You and I are having a great conversation right now. Arguably, it could even be better if we were able to augment our discussion with charts or other things to appear," said Cook, to Swisher of the NYTimes. He thinks AR could augment healthcare, education, gaming, and retail. "I'm already seeing AR take off in some of these areas with use of the phone."

"And I think the promise is even greater in the future," added Cook.

For years, rumors of Apple's development of an augmented reality headset have intrigued, with the latest links hinting that a mixed reality device might launch next year. AR features are already integrated into the iPad and iPhone, but beyond some interesting Snapchat filters, AR applications have yet to catch on in the mainstream.

The tech CEO also explained Apple's attitude to products in reply to a question about cars. As of writing, Apple leaks have left an ambiguous trail on whether it would develop self-driving tech to license out to other companies, or simply develop an entirely new vehicle of its own. But Cook's new comments shift the likelihood to the latter.

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"We love to integrate hardware, software, and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that's where the magic occurs," he said to the NYTimes. "And so that's what we love to do. And we love to own the primary technology that's around that."

The tech CEO also mentioned "autonomy" as a "core technology," adding that there are "lots of things you can do" with the feature when combined with robots. But he also emphasized that not every Apple project goes to market. "We investigate so many things internally. Many of them never see the light of day," lamented Cook. "I'm not saying that one will not."

While a double-negative isn't exactly a confirmation, these words show beyond doubt that Cook and Apple are likely thinking about building an autonomous car. Swisher of the New York Times also asked Cook about Elon Musk's comments regarding a defunct attempt to land a conversation with Apple about selling Tesla back in 2017. "You know, I've never spoken to Elon," replied Cook. "[A]lthough I have great admiration and respect for the company he's built."

When it comes to Apple's unannounced products, leads are typically rare. But honing in relentlessly on his general thoughts about potential new moves into some of the most advanced and novel markets in the world helps us understand and more accurately predict the juggernaut company's thoughts on what we can and can't expect to see.

This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.

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