Apple Inc AAPL CEO Tim Cook talked at length about his company’s augmented reality (AR) efforts in an interview with The Independent. Cook has been vocal about AR for a long time now. He views this as the next big computing platform.
There have been several rumors about Apple working on AR glasses that could be retailed by this year end. However, Cook has put rest to these rumors. He told the Independent that Apple is not bothered about being the first in the AR glasses market but is concentrating on giving consumers the best quality stuff.
“Today I can tell you the technology itself doesn’t exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face – there’s huge challenges with that.The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet.”
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He drew parallels with the App Store as well as multi-touch technology. Back in 2007, Apple introduced the first iPhone that had touch sensors. The technology transformed the whole idea of interfacing and is now the staple of most smartphones.
He believes that the rise of AR will be “dramatic” just like the evolution of mobile apps. He said that earlier, people were wary that apps won’t find mainstream adoption but today there is a robust app economy. Users are now more than ever dependent on apps for their needs like health monitoring, shopping and for a ride back home.
To boost its AR efforts, Apple has created its own custom software tool kit called ARKit. Unveiled at WWDC, Apple had announced that ARKit will help third-party developers to work on creating AR experiences for the iOS platform. Cook also stated that by putting ARKit on iPhones, Apple has “instantly overnight become the largest AR platform.”
Given the massive growth potential, there is intense competition. Right from Facebook FB to Alphabet GOOGL to Microsoft MSFT, all are vying to grab a share of this pie
Facebook has directed about $3 billion to develop VR technology while Alphabet’s Google is giving tough competition to Apple with its all new ARCore developer Kit. Similar to ARKit, ARCore will let developers create AR experiences for Android Platform. Android is indeed one of the most popular mobile operating platforms.
On the other hand, Microsoft has (and cautiously) directed its efforts toward something called “mixed reality.” Microsoft created the term “mixed reality,” which stands for a combination of AR and VR. A few days back, the company announced that the new upgraded version of the Windows 10 operating system (OS) will support both AR and VR technologies. HoloLens is Microsoft’s another noted “mixed reality” product.
It remains to be seen how this market eventually pans out in the coming days. Though at present AR/VR application may be limited to gaming, it has the potential to evolve into the next computing platform. Only time will tell how.
Zacks Rank & Stock Price Movement
At present, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Year to date, shares of the company have gained 35.2% compared with the industry’s gain of 34.4%.
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