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Apple CEO Tim Cook says ‘there’s no substitute for human contact’ as he talks VR and AR

Apple CEO Tim Cook gives a small insight into what Apple may be working on in regards to AR and VR.

By Ellie Burns

Every tech giant seems to be jumping on the virtual or augmented reality bandwagon – except one that is. While Microsoft and Google have shown a degree of transparency towards their AR or VR strategies, Apple is one company which has remained tight lipped about its plans, if any, for the technology.

Tim Cook, however, has broken his silence, speaking exclusively with BuzzFeed News Japan during a visit to Tokyo. Not giving much away, the Apple CEO suggested that Apple is most interested in AR because it can enhance human experiences.

“There’s no substitute for human contact,” Cook told BuzzFeed News. “And so you want the technology to encourage that.”

It is not the first time that Cook has  pointed to his company favouring AR, saying that he thought ’AR can be huge’ in an earnings call earlier this summer.


PrimeSense was an Israeli 3D sensing company based in Tel Aviv, bought by Apple for $360m.

Apple has also made numerous acquisitions, with the collective buyouts looking like the beginnings of an AR ecosystem. PrimeSense, Metaio and Faceshift are just some of the acquired companies boasting technologies which would complement the AR space. In addition to this, Apple has appointed some key execs who would be well suited to running an AR team. This year, VR research scientist Yury Petrov was poached from Facebook’s Oculus and Magic Leap’s Zeyu Li was brought on board to be Apple’s ‘senior computer vision algorithm engineer.’

It certainly suggests that Cook is favouring AR over VR, although Apple’s plans and strategy regarding AR remain shrouded in secrecy – like most of their products.

However, Cook is certain that the impact on the user and the ability to amplify experience, is the future of technology.

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“Augmented reality will take some time to get right, but I do think that it’s profound. We might … have a more productive conversation, if both of us have an AR experience standing here, right? And so I think that things like these are better when they’re incorporated without becoming a barrier to our talking. … You want the technology to amplify it, not to be a barrier.” Cook told BuzzFeed News Japan.

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