Sunday, October 16, 2016

Apple's Tim Cook doubles down on AR over VR

photo by Apple
Tim Cook once again emphasized Apple's interest in augmented reality (AR) above virtual reality (VR).


In an interview with Buzzfeed News Japan, Tim Cook again affirmed Apple's interest in AR as a means of enhancing -- not replacing -- interaction between people.  “There’s no substitute for human contact ... [a]nd so you want the technology to encourage that.”

Conversely, Tim Cook was more reserved about VR, expressing concern about VR limiting interaction. "VR, I think, has some interesting applications, but I don't think it's a broad-based technology like AR," Cook said. "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."

This is the second public statement Cook has made about AR versus VR.  In September, during an interview with Good Morning America, Cook also argued that AR has more potential because it allows people to remain present with each other, whereas VR, Cook argued, isolates the user.

Cook's comments stand in stark contrast with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg's vision for VR as "the most social platform."  To be fair, Zuckerberg has said the same about AR.  However, at Oculus Connect 3, Zuckerberg demonstrated how VR could be used to allow people to interact with each other as if they are in the same room.

While I agree with Tim Cook about AR's potential for enhancing social interaction, I agree with Zuckerberg that VR has a lot of potential to be a very social platform because it can allow people to interact in a shared virtual space, in a way that would be more difficult for AR.

Check out the Buzzfeed's interview with Tim Cook here.  What do you think?  Does AR have greater social potential?  Is VR isolating?  Sound out in the comments!