Apple is leaving an Augmented Reality window of opportunity for Microsoft



Most people believe that Apple’S ARKit is only laying the ground for a real augmented reality headset solution in the near future, but speaking to The Independent Apple CEO Tim Cook made it clear they did not think the technology for this was ready yet.

“There are rumours and stuff about companies working on those – we obviously don’t talk about what we’re working on,” Cook says, “but today I can tell you the technology itself doesn’t exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face – there’s huge challenges with that.”

“The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet,” he said.

He insisted as with all of its products, Apple will only ship something if it feels it can do it “in a quality way”.

Microsoft is, of course, one of the earliest players in the field, with an actual product in the market, but is also believed to have delayed a successor until the technology improves so the device meets the expectations of consumers.

Cook did, however, feel the problems would eventually be solved, saying “most technology challenges can be solved, but it’s a matter of how long.”

Microsoft has continued to forge ahead, if far from aggressively, with numerous companies working on applications for the HoloLens, and some, like various European motor companies, even weaving them into their workflow. Tim Cook however did not feel arriving late to the market would present an issue.

“We don’t give a rat’s about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience,” he says. “But now 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.”

I believe however that Tim Cook is mistaken, and Microsoft would be missing a massive opportunity by letting their current lead wilt on the vine.

Microsoft should embrace incrementalism and release regular updates to their offering, which will make them all the more nimble when the actual revolutionary improvements do arrive and would reduce the delta between their solution and Apple’s eventual “groundbreaking” product. Still offering the 2015 HoloLens when Apple drops the 2020 iGlass is a guarantee they will be leapfrogged.

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