Artificial intelligence and augmented reality are high on the list of Apple's next ventures, and Apple CEO Tim Cook is already seeing the impact his company will make in these fields in the near future.
Before Cook sat down for an exclusive interview with The Washington Post, he had already made clear how A.I. and AR would figure significantly in Apple's future, during the company's earnings call last month.
Apple's Prospects In Augmented Reality
Apple has been among a number of companies benefiting from the worldwide craze that is Pokémon GO.
According to an investor memo released by analyst Laura Martin of Needham, Apple could purportedly earn $3 billion in additional incremental revenue in the coming 12 to 24 months.
Pokémon GO's success, Cook believes, is a testament to the robust apps market that Apple has helped build. The Cupertino company is also continuing to pour money into enhancing its iPhone line, despite any sales slowdown, to ensure the mobile device remains a reliable platform for such AR-based games.
"That's the reason you see so many of the iPhones out in the wild right now chasing Pokémon," says Cook. This strong growth could even lead to Apple's market capitalization increasing by as much as $5.5 billion.
After the advent of Facebook's Oculus Rift and Google's Glass AR wearables, the pressure is on for other technology companies to explore AR and view it as the next "big thing" to hit the industry.
While Apple has yet to raise the curtains on any standalone AR device of its own, it has been active in acquiring companies such as Metaio and Faceshift, which would make for strategic partners in the field, and building up its library of patents related directly to AR.
Tim Cook On Artificial Intelligence: Siri Is Getting Smarter
Even small changes to Siri, brought in by the upcoming iOS 10, should usher in A.I. seamlessly into consumers' daily life. Apple seems to be introducing the changes little by little, in a way that answers customers' needs first.
"What we've done with A.I. is focus on things that will help the customer," Cook tells The Washington Post. "We announced in June that we're opening Siri to third parties, so third-party developers can now use Siri."
With an extensive library of third-party applications, tied into Apple's popular personal assistant, Siri's brand of artificial intelligence will continue to provide everyday convenience to iDevice lovers, on anything from hailing a ride to prediciting speech when a user starts texting, to remembering where a user has parked at the airport.
"Whatever kind of ridesharing app you might use, Uber or Lyft in the United States, you could just — using your voice — order the car," Cook adds, noting these apps will hit the market by fall. "That's how we're broadening Siri in a huge way."
Siri has also become "a lot smarter" at predicting the next phrase or word the user will require when dictating a message to the digital assistant.
Another simple but nifty A.I.-based tool offered in Apple's next mobile OS is "Memories," which easily compiles family photos through facial detection, and which Cook touts as "the modern equivalent of a photo album."
Privacy Issues In Apple's Upcoming Projects
With so much data being pulled up and synthesized about a person's activity, just how safe then is a user's data when deploying artificial intelligence or location-based augmented reality software?
"Instead of passing all that information to the cloud, where we're maintaining it all," Cook explains, "we do a lot of it on the device itself, so you're in control of your own data."
Such apps shouldn't be intrusive in the long run. The CEO believes in the concept of differential privacy, which examines large data to determine the iDevice owner's behavioral and technological usage patterns. But it ultimately avoids one thing: digging into personal information that could lead to privacy violations.