Artificial reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) projects could be in Apple's future, hints company CEO Tim Cook.
Speaking with ABC News in an exclusive interview, Cook says that AR and VR technologies have drawn Apple's attention, and they're both "incredibly interesting," albeit AR may have a brighter future than VR.
The interview may offer hints as to what new product categories we might see from Apple in the future.
"There's virtual reality and there's augmented reality — both of these are incredibly interesting," says Cook. "But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far."
AR overlays virtual things over the immediate surroundings, combining reality with augmented versions of it. The concept gained ground recently on the consumer tech scene, most notable with hit game Pokémon GO.
According to Cook, VR may have a lower commercial interest looking at the bigger picture in the long run.
This is not the first time that Apple's CEO talks about augmented reality. Just last month, for instance, Cook discussed artificial intelligence and AR and noted just how big Pokémon GO was, with Apple being one of the many companies that benefitted from the AR game's huge success.
Cook doesn't write off virtual reality altogether, but he does indicate that AR would be more of a priority for Apple than VR.
"Less people will be interested in that, but there are some really cool areas there for education and gaming that we have a lot of interest in."
Cook's reasoning for thinking AR is larger than VR party relies on the fact that VR requires a certain degree of antisocial behavior, requiring users to strap a screen over their faces. AR, meanwhile, allows users to interact with one another and enrich their immediate setting with digital imagery. AR headsets could serve for day-to-day communication, allowing users to walk around and talk to one another and other parties in person.
With AR and VR drawing Apple's interest, will the company be joining the craze and start projects of its own? Based on Cook's comments, this seems the most likely scenario. The CEO does not, however, suggest any clear timeline for when Apple's future AR and VR projects may materialize and hit the consumer segment.
Nevertheless, it looks like Apple has some big plans for this area, so expect to hear more about Apple's AR and VR plans in the future. In the meantime, you can learn more about the differences and similarities between AR and VR from our previous coverage on the matter.