Smartphones are the basis of Apple’s success, accounting for more than 70% of their profits, and supporting most of the rest via their huge installed and captive base of iPhone owners.
It is therefore a testament to Apple’s excitement about Augmented Reality that Tim Cook has said he thinks the technology could be as big as the iPhone.
In an interview with The Independent he mentions that he felt it was “a big idea like the smartphone” that would be “huge” and “for everyone,” saying:
I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge.
Tellingly he described it as a “core technology” rather than a stand-alone product, suggesting once again it could be part of the next iPhone rather than a product sold by itself, like the HoloLens.
I view AR like I view the silicon here in my iPhone, it’s not a product per se, it’s a core technology.
Tim Cook noted the advantage of Augmented Reality was that it did not exclude the world.
I’m excited about Augmented Reality because unlike Virtual Reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently. Most people don’t want to lock themselves out from the world for a long period of time and today you can’t do that because you get sick from it. With AR you can, not be engrossed in something, but have it be a part of your world, of your conversation. That has resonance.
There have been rumours that the next iPhone will have cameras and sensors which would allow it to act like an augmented reality device when placed in a headset, and which would produce a “see-through” effect, finally making the “transparent” iPhone a reality.
Apple has never been a trailblazer when it comes to new technology, but has generally managed to overtake the pioneers after noting their mistakes, making his statement that “there are things to discover before that technology is good enough for the mainstream” telling.
Microsoft has been leading the mind-share battle of the augmented reality market, with the most advanced headset with the best developer support in the market. It is however believed the company has managed to sell only “thousands” of headsets, and with the next HoloLens likely to remain unaffordable, and with their new generation of OEM devices likely tethered to PCs the market is unfortunately ripe to be overtaken by a high-quality mobile competitor.
Do our readers agree that Microsoft needs to move faster if they don’t want to be steam rolled again? Let us know below.