Apple's Tim Cook Tells Investors Augmented Reality Can Be Huge

Apple wants to bring AR to an even wider audience.

Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Tuesday’s earnings call for investors and shareholders at Apple covered third quarter losses and gains, along with giving all parties involved a glimpse at what the company plans to do over the next few years. Apple CEO Tim Cook was on hand to speak about upcoming projects and advancements — one of which rests within the realm of augmented reality, where one of the biggest hits in mobile gaming now reigns king.

Pokémon Go is the most successful mobile AR game on the market right now, thanks to its combination of brand recognition and the immersive experience it provides. Using augmented reality, the game places Pokémon right on the sidewalks, monuments, and desks of eager players, who can catch and battle with the creatures. Cook says that Apple clearly recognizes the potential for augmented reality, which he says “could be huge.” This news follows quite a bit of mystery and speculation in various fields of virtual and augmented reality — two areas where other smartphone makers are advancing rapidly.

“It’s incredible what has happened there,” Cook said on the call. “I think it’s a testament to what happens to innovative apps and the whole ecosystem… the power of a developer being able to press a button so to speak, and offer their product around the world.” Cook cracked a quick joke about the Pokémon Go servers, which famously go down on a daily basis, before getting serious again. “We are high on AR for the long run … the number one thing is to make sure our products work well with other developers sort of products.”

Still, Cook warned that there’s something about the hype that tends to surround any new fad in this kind of development for mobile games. “I noticed people that want to call it a new computer platform, and we’ll see. I think there’s a tendency in this industry to call everything the next computer platform,” says Cook. “However, that said, I think AR can be huge. So… we’ll see whether it’s the next platform. Regardless, it will be huge.”

So far, there aren’t any other details about where Apple is personally going with augmented reality — but the interest is there, and being able to work with developers seems to be the company’s top priority at the moment.

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