Could an augmented reality device be in Apple's future? New comments from the company's CEO suggest that Cupertino is at least interested in the technology, perhaps even moreso than virtual reality.
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In an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Tim Cook enthusiastically spoke about AR and VR, though "My own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far," he said.
AR "gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have other things, visually, for both of us to see — maybe it's something we're talking about, maybe it's someone else … that is not here … but could be made to appear to be present with us," he continued.
Virtual reality, meanwhile, "encloses and immerses the person into an experience that can be really cool, but probably has a lower commercial interest over time," Cook said. Still, he acknowledged that there are some "really cool" VR apps for education and gaming, which Apple has "a lot of interest in."
Rumors of an Apple AR device have been circulating for some time. The company in June won a patent for a device with a wraparound, translucent display. Incorporating cameras, an accelerometer, and face-tracking technology, the potential AR device could work like the helmet in Iron Man's suit, continuously displaying images, videos, and other UI elements at any point along the chassis.
Meanwhile, word spread in January that Apple has been secretly growing a large VR and AR research team, which has already constructed some prototype headsets.