Why Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, Sees More Potential for Augmented Reality Than Virtual Reality

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Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was recently interviewed on ABC News and he took the opportunity to make it clear that Apple is very interested in augmented and virtual reality. Of the two however, Cook made it obvious that he was personally more enthused about the potential of augmented reality than virtual reality, in part due to the fact that it’s more conducive to social interaction.

“There’s virtual reality and there’s augmented reality — both of these are incredibly interesting,” Cook said in the interview. “But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far. Augmented reality 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,” said Cook. “Maybe it’s something we’re talking about, maybe it’s someone else here who’s not here present but who can be made to appear to be present.”

Cook did not go so far as to write off VR entirely, but he did seem circumspect about its potential compared to AR, which is less immersive and restrictive, and allows for more social interaction. “There’s some really cool areas there for education and gaming that we have a lot of interest in,” Cook said about VR.

Apple has, of course, been investing heavily in the two technologies for a while already. The Financial Times reported earlier this year that the company had assembled a large team of virtual and augmented reality experts to develop applications for the technologies. In addition, Apple has been poaching valuable employees from companies such as Google and Microsoft, when it’s not acquiring companies outright.

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