Augmented reality will forever change the way we communicate says the Apple CEO.
According to a recent report by Apple research expert Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will be launching a mixed reality headset later this year, followed by a dedicated AR headset in 2025 and AR contact lenses in 2030. The companies iPhones and iPads already have AR capabilities, and the current iPhone 12’s have LiDAR that can be used to instantly create your own 3D content through apps like Polycam or 3D Scanner App.
Kara Swisher from the New York Times recently talked with Apple CEO Tim Cook about the companies future as well as its current priorities. When the subject of AR and it’s potential came up, Cook said “You and I are having a great conversation right now. Arguably, it could even be better if we were able to augment our discussion with charts or other things to appear.”
Swisher then asked if AR was a ‘critically important’ part of Apple’s future, to which Cook responded “It is.”
In Cook’s opinion, AR will change the way we communicate with our friends, colleagues, and family. It’ll reshape communication in fields such as health, education, gaming, and retail. “I’m already seeing AR take off in some of these areas with use of the phone. And I think the promise is even greater in the future,” said Cook.
While current AR technology can serve as a powerful tool in a variety of fields, the way in which it’s currently accessed—such as smartphones and bulkier mixed reality headsets—can be cumbersome. In order for Cook’s vision of an AR-enhanced future to come to fruition, future head-mounted solutions will need to be lighter, easier-to-operate, and more fashionable than current offerings.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is well aware of this fact and is currently in the development of black-rimmed smart glasses that use machine perception and AI research to gather visual and audio data in real-time. Codenamed ‘Project Aria,’ these non-AR glasses will serve as a stepping stone for future AR projects.
Cook told Swisher that the company loves to integrate hardware, software, and services to seek out new intersection points of communication, stating “that’s where the magic occurs.” But for Apple, it’s just a matter of taking its time and doing it right.
Multiple companies have already established themselves in the AR and VR consumer market. So when Apple does finally release an AR/VR product of its own, it will find themselves in the unfamiliar situation of being the newbies on the block. But that’s not a bad place to be for the tech giant. Remember, Apple wasn’t the first company to launch an MP3 player and of course, we all know how well that turned out for them.
To get another perspective, we spoke with scriptwriter and media coordinator Robyn Smith. When asked how she sees AR changing the way we communicate, she said, “AR to me is a social experience firstly. As someone who thrived in physical spaces before the pandemic hit, I felt overwhelmingly isolated at home.”
“It was AR/VR that allowed me to feel connected to people again,” said Smith adding, “I believe AR will be an important part of recovering from the pandemic— whether it’s the burgeoning adaptation of AR in the workplace or in social circles through apps, AR is the next step in our social evolution.”
For most people, games like Pokémon Go or basic face filters on Instagram and Snapchat are their first experience with AR; we already have experience using AR as a way to communicate. It’s this next level of interactivity that has people like Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Robyn Smith excited about the days ahead.
According to Smith, “I think in many ways, AR will become THE mode of communication in a nearer future sooner than we think. In the next few years, especially if pandemic conditions remain similar, AR is going to infiltrate every aspect of our daily lives; we already see these advancements at work with office meetings, social gatherings, gaming, and retail.”
You can check out the entire New York Times interview here.
Feature Image Credit: Karl Mondon/Digital First Media/The Mercury News (via Getty Images)