Apple CEO Tim Cook: AR Is One Of ‘Very Few Profound Technologies”

In a recent interview with YouTuber iJustine, Tim Cook called himself “AR fan #1” and said he thinks it’s one of “very few profound technologies” that have the potential to permanently embed themselves in day-to-day life.

The comments on AR, prompted by a question from Justine, start around the 9:15 mark. Here’s a transcription of what he had to say (emphasis is our own):

You know, I am so excited about AR. I think AR is one of these very few profound technologies that we will look back on one day and, ‘How did we lives out without it?’ And so right now you can experience it in thousands of ways, using your iPad or your iPhone, but of course those will get better and better over time. Already, it’s a great way to shop, it’s a great way to learn, it enhances the learning process. I can’t wait for it to be even more important in collaboration and so forth. So I’m AR fan #1. I think it’s that big.

Simple things today that you can use it for, like if you’re shopping for a sofa or a chair or a lamp, in terms of experiencing it in your place… We’ve never been able to do that before until the last couple of years or so. And that’s at the early innings of AR, it will only get better

This is far from the first time Cook has been publicly bullish about AR. In April, he said it was “critically important” to Apple’s future, following on from comments two months earlier about how he thinks AR could one day attract as big of an audience as the iPhone. As far back as 2016, Tim Cook was telling Apple investors that AR will be huge but also take some time to get right.

Five years on, AR has come a long way but still has a ways to go. Facebook’s recent Ray-Ban smart glasses pave the way for that company’s public AR efforts, but Apple has yet to dip its toes into AR hardware beyond iPhone and iOS integration. It’s reported that this could change next year, with Apple rumored to launch an AR-VR headset in the second half of 2022 for anywhere between $1000-$2000 or more.

Report: Apple’s AR-VR Headset To Launch Second Half Of 2022

Taiwanese news outlet DigiTimes claims Apple’s rumored AR-VR headset will launch in the second half of 2022.

More than half of the world’s chips are manufactured in Taiwan as well as many consumer products. DigiTimes tends to cite “supply chain sources”, but has a mixed track record on accuracy.

The InformationBloomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo all claim Apple will release a sleek AR-VR headset as early as 2022 with high resolution color cameras. In February The Information claimed to have viewed images of a late-stage prototype “which show a sleek, curved visor attached to the face by a mesh material and swappable headbands”. The outlet drew an impression:

The Information Apple VR

The report claims the product is in a second phase of prototype testing, with mass production slated for Q2 2022 in time for a launch later in the year.

Ming-Chi Kuo predicted the headset will be priced around $1000, but DigiTimes reports the price may rise to more than $2000 due to high component costs. The outlet claims the frame is made from a high strength lightweight magnesium alloy containing rare earth elements.

Report Claims Apple AR-VR Headset Uses iPhone/iPad/Mac For Advanced Features

Apple’s rumored upcoming headset will require a host device for full functionality, The Information reports.

The InformationBloomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo all claim Apple will release a sleek AR-VR headset as early as 2022 with high resolution color cameras. Kuo claims it will be priced around $1000.

In February The Information claimed to have viewed images of a late-stage prototype “which show a sleek, curved visor attached to the face by a mesh material and swappable headbands”. The outlet drew an impression:

The Information Apple VR

While reports to date suggested the device will be fully standalone, this new report claims it will need to be wirelessly tethered – “presumably” to an iPhone, iPad, or Mac – for “the most advanced features.” The report says the presence of an onboard graphics processing unit “suggests” there is also a standalone mode, but no details were given as to its capability. Apparently the headset’s custom chip is less powerful than the A-series used in iPhones & iPads, and lacks the ‘Neural Engine’ machine learning accelerator. If the chip really is notably less powerful than an iPhone, standalone content may be very limited. Instead, the report claims, the chip has unique wireless transmission and compression capabilities suitable for wireless VR. The chip is “at least a year away” from mass production, the report claims.

It’s unclear exactly how this would work. Potentially the camera imagery could be processed onboard to ensure consistency & low latency, while the host device renders graphical content. This could enable a much smaller battery and thus a lighter headset. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously claimed the product will weigh somewhere between 100 and 300 grams, around half Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2. Quest 2, of course, can also wirelessly connect to a host device – a Windows PC with a graphics card.

A separate The Information source claims the Apple headset’s image sensors are “unusually large” to capture high resolution image data. Apparently TSMC “has struggled to produce the chip without defects and has faced low yields during trial production”.

Given the timeline of mass production and issues with the sensors, it’s unknown whether the headset is still slated for a 2022 launch.