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Tim Cook doesn’t ‘give a rats’ about being first to AR glasses

The idea of augmented reality smart glasses has been around for a few years. The concept envisioned by tech leaders and enthusiasts would see you wear glasses that overlay digital information on the real world as you look around. Effectively an expanded form of Google Glass, creating a device would require condensing AR headset tech into a module capable of fitting inside glasses.
“We want to be best”
Speaking in an interview with Vogue, Cook said this remains unrealistic and would require compromises Apple’s not willing to make. While he stopped short of dismissing AR smart glasses altogether, he said Apple will wait until the technology’s able to support a satisfactory experience.
“I can tell you that the technology itself doesn’t exist to do [AR glasses] in a quality way,” Cook said to Vogue after dismissing “rumours and gossip” about the idea.
“We don’t give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people’s experiences. Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with.”
Cook also expressed scepticism about the AR shopping experiences being proposed by some retailers and tech firms. While stating AR “absolutely will” be a part of future shopping, he said Apple isn’t actively pursuing a presence in the retail space. Cook has no plans for Apple to build its own database of augmented reality product details, leaving it up to third-party firms to complete the heavy lifting.
Slow and steady
Apple’s always be noted for its reluctance to embrace new technologies until it feels they’re ready for primetime. The company has taken longer than its rivals to launch its own augmented reality ecosystem, only releasing ARKit to the masses last month. Although it now has an AR platform to build on, Cook’s comments show Apple’s still taking the same steady approach to evolving augmented reality hardware.
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For now, Apple’s focusing on smartphone experiences. This strategy maximises its potential audience, allowing the company to introduce AR to as many people as possible. Launching AR on iOS first also brings the technology to scores of developers already invested in the ecosystem, ensuring there’s enough content to make ARKit worthwhile.
In the long term, it’s likely Apple has bigger plans slowly being pushed forward. Cook’s stated his enthusiasm for AR on several occasions, indicating the direction of Apple’s research efforts. Although AR smart glasses aren’t here yet, AR-centric hardware could still feature in Apple’s future hardware. After introducing AR to consumers with ARKit, dedicated devices might be a logical next step.

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