He then described Apple’s work in the space so far, which has been focused on AR apps on the iPhone and iPad, before adding, “But I think we’re still in the very early innings of how this technology will evolve. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer.” AR or “mixed reality” describes technology that superimposes computer-generated images over views of the real world, contrasted with virtual reality, or VR, which completely immerses the viewer in a computer-generated world.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has provided the closest thing to a confirmation that the company is developing a headset. In a recent interview with China Daily USA, Cook was questioned about what, in his opinion, are the essential elements for augmented reality, or AR, to be successful in the consumer market. “As you may know, I am quite enthusiastic about AR. And the key to any technology, including augmented reality, is placing humans at the centre of it,” he said, reiterating previous statements he’s made about how crucial augmented reality is to the company.
It’s one of the clearest examples yet of Cook acknowledging that Apple has something bigger in the works. While the current apps can be useful for things such as mapping a room or seeing if a new piece of furniture might fit, it seems more likely that Apple has been building the library and tools for developers to build apps for something like a headset.
Bloomberg said in May that Apple recently showed its AR/VR headset to the Apple board and that the company plans to announce it as early as the end of this year, although it could slip into next year. The same report said Apple plans to sell the headset in 2023. Apple would be playing catch-up with a number of other big tech companies, particularly Meta, which changed its name from Facebook last year to signify its revamped focus on immersing users in virtual worlds known as the “metaverse,” and Microsoft, which first introduced its Hololens AR glasses in 2016.