Tim Cook: Augmented reality can ‘bring people together’

Tim Cook: Augmented reality can ‘bring people together’ Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long been a proponent of augmented reality (AR) over virtual reality, arguing that AR has the potential to bring people together rather than isolate them.

In a recent profile with GQ, Cook reiterated his belief that overlaying the physical world with digital elements can enhance communication and connection between people. 

Cook emphasised that AR should be used to drop digital things into the real world rather than transport people to purely digital spaces. He has previously said that people shouldn’t be encouraged to “live their whole lives” in a virtual world.

The vision set out by Cook in the profile aligns with what we know about Apple’s forthcoming mixed reality headset, which is said to cost around $3,000 and will prioritise “copresence.”

The upcoming device will allow users to see and interact with digital elements in the real world. Cook explained to GQ that Apple has taken its time developing the headset because the company wants to control the primary technology to ensure innovation.

Throughout the profile, Cook emphasized Apple’s commitment to environmental sustainability and its efforts to help people have better relationships with technology. 

“My philosophy is, if you’re looking at the phone more than you’re looking in somebody’s eyes, you’re doing the wrong thing,” said Cook.

In the mixed-reality era, Apple aims to provide tools to help people do even more in the real world rather than make screens for people to look at instead of engaging with the physical world.

Cook’s philosophy highlights Apple’s desire to differentiate itself from other tech companies that prioritise screen time and digital experiences over real-world interaction. The company’s forthcoming mixed reality headset represents a significant opportunity for Apple to demonstrate how technology can enhance, rather than detract from, human connections.

With its focus on copresence and blending digital and physical worlds, Apple’s headset could be a major step toward Cook’s vision of using AR to bring people together.

Apple was widely expected to announce its mixed-reality headset at this year’s WWDC. However, some reports suggest that it may not be ready in time and employees have expressed concern over compromises to the hardware and that the economic environment may result in a muted reception and not the “iPhone moment” that Apple is hoping for.

A second headset project is underway at Apple that is purely for AR and will be similar to standard glasses that a user can wear throughout their day to augment the world around them. That project is still in its early stages and it’s expected to be at least several years before it becomes technologically feasible.

(Image Credit: President.gov.ua under CC BY 4.0 license. Cropped from original.)

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