“I think augmented reality is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology,” Tim Cook told The Washington Post in an interview published Sunday. “So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on behind that curtain we talked about.”
This, boys and girls, right there is Apple’s first public admission that not only has it been dipping its toes in augmented-reality technology, but possibly creating its next major computing platform.
Why’s this important?
Augmented reality is an exciting technology that overlays bits and pieces of information on top of live video feed capturing the real world. If you had any doubts about the potential for this technology, look no further than Pokemon GO, Nintendo’s wildly popular augmented reality game.
Predictably, Cook refused to elaborate on the project or hint at when we might expect augmented reality products, saying Apple believes people love a surprise.
“We’ve always viewed that people love surprises,” said Cook. “We don’t have enough anymore in our lives.” Apple is perfectly poised to mainstream augmented reality technologies.
For starters, the company does not have divisions like many other corporations as it believes in small teams versus monolithic huge teams.
“The product teams are horizontal, where people from hardware and software services can all work together,” said Cook, adding:
That means the top of the company must work together incredibly well. Think about if you were the CEO of a company with a lot of divisions — I’m going to exaggerate a little bit — it would almost be like you’re a holding company CEO.
That is the model for most companies. But that’s not what customers want from us. You can’t have a weak link. You can’t have people who don’t get along. It has to be people who have great respect for one another and who work as a team.
Apple’s organizational structure allows design, hardware, software, services and other teams to work in concert, creating seamlessly integrated products.
While augmented reality seems to be in Apple’s future, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple is working on a Google Glass-like googles, other type of glasses or a mobile virtual reality headset akin to Samsung’s Gear VR or Microsoft’s HoloLens.
Of course, that’s not ruling out a virtual reality Apple headset entirely.
The Financial Times said in January 2016 that Apple has more than a hundred engineers researching the technology and had been building prototypes of possible headset configurations “for several months.”
Additionally, Apple hired Doug Bowman, one of the top virtual reality researchers, filed some interesting patents and acquired Flyby Media, an augmented reality start-up that lets mobile devices “see” the world around them.
Flyby Media is one of the few companies in this space that Apple bought in the past. In one of the earnings calls, Cook turned heads by saying that virtual and augmented reality “is really cool and has some interesting applications.”
Cook calling augmented reality “sort of a core technology” could be interpreted as a sign that Apple is looking to add augmented reality features to its existing platforms or create an entirely new software platform specifically for augmented reality applications.
What’s your read of Cook’s comment?
Source: The Washington Post