Apple has long been speculated to be working on virtual reality and self-driving electric cars, but the firm is infamous for being tight-lipped about any advancement that occurs within its laboratories. In an interview with the New York Times, Apple CEO Tim Cook teased a few details about the designs, whether they ever see the light of day.
When it comes to augmented reality, industry experts such as renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predict that Apple will begin with a HoloLens-style interface and gradually create a family of mixed reality devices in various form factors.
If you look at Microsoft’s recent contract win with the US Army, it seems like the correct strategy, but it also suggests that this latest device might end up being something of a prosumer, niche-type tool that lends itself to commercial and military environments.
According to Tim Cook, augmented reality has enormous promise, some of which may be in enhancing conversations by encouraging participants to overlay content. He also claims that there are various applications for it in school, gaming, and retail, and that AR has already taken off on smartphones. But, above all, he is eager to see where this leads and acknowledges that it is a critical component of Apple’s future.
Apple has also been speculated to be working on automobiles, with some outlets predicting a release later this year. Hyundai has been stealing talent from automakers, and at one stage announced talks with the Cupertino behemoth to produce a hybrid vehicle. However, it is unclear if Apple intends to develop a car entirely in-house or simply supply self-driving apps, and Cook was reluctant to explain this during the interview.
He does, however, agree that Apple is playing with autonomy, referring to it as a “central technology.” He also mentions “We enjoy integrating hardware, applications, and services and locating the points of intersection because we believe that is where the magic happens. But that’s what we want to do. And we adore owning the key technology that surrounds it.”
We also know that during Tesla’s Model 3 troubles, Elon Musk attempted (but failed) to meet with Cook to consider selling Tesla for one-tenth of its current value.
When Swisher asked Cook about it, he just said that he’d never met Musk, “though I have much admiration and reverence for the business he’s created.” The Apple Car project could never see the light of day, but Cook was cautious not to ignore it completely.
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