Apple CEO Tim Cook talks AR/VR headset and more in a new interview

Apple CEO Tim Cook appears to have teased the company’s upcoming mixed reality headset at Extensive interview with GQ.

Culinary features on the cover GQThe 2023 Global Creativity Awards Edition. The interview with GQZach Baron, titled Tim Cook, Thinks Different, delves into multiple aspects of Cook’s career, premiership, and personal life. Explaining why Apple is hypothetically interested in AR/VR hardware, Cook said:

If you think about the technology itself with augmented reality, just to take one side of the AR/VR piece, the idea that you can overlay the physical world with things from the digital world can greatly enhance people’s communication, people’s connection. It can enable people to achieve things they could not achieve before. We might be able to collaborate on something much easier if we were sitting here brainstorming it and suddenly we could come out with something digital and see it together and start collaborating on it and creating it. And so it’s the idea that there’s this environment that might be better than just the real world — overlaying the virtual world on top of it might be a better world. And that’s exciting. If it can speed up creativity, if it can just help you do the things you do all day and never really thought about doing differently.

Cook went on to suggest that scaling physical objects and putting digital art on walls are just the beginning of potential use cases for augmented reality, which apparently means that there are much greater possibilities. Then Baron brought up the fact that Cook said it in 2015 The New Yorker that he was very skeptical of Apple making smart glasses, similar to Google Glass, as an early product of augmented reality. Cook said at the time:

We’ve always thought that glasses aren’t a smart move, from the point of view that people really don’t want to wear them. They were intrusive, rather than pushing technology into the background, as we had always believed. We always thought it was going to fail, and you know, until now it has.

Now, Cook has admitted he’s ready to say he was wrong:

My thinking is always evolving. Steve taught me well: never marry your ex convictions. Always, if something new is presented that says you were wrong, acknowledge it and move on instead of continuing to hunker down and talk about why you were right.

Baron Cook then asked if the fact that neither Google Glass nor Meta Quest headsets had made such a dent among consumers would make him skeptical that Apple would offer a product in the AR/VR space. Cook responded that Apple has a history of success in areas where people have questioned:

Pretty much everything we’ve done, there have been a lot of skeptics with him. If you do something on edge, he will always be suspicious. […] Can we make a significant contribution, in some way, to something that others don’t? Can we own proto-technology? I’m not interested in collecting pieces of someone else’s stuff. Because we want to control the initial technology. Because we know that’s how you create.

Read the Full interview For more information on Cook’s thoughts on leadership, his public image, comparing himself to Steve Jobs, working at Apple Park, his salary, and more.

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