Apple CEO Tim Cook has highlighted the importance of augmented reality, claiming it will “change the way we use technology forever.”
Speaking on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call, Cook said that there are already more than 1,000 apps with “powerful AR features” in the App Store today across a range of categories.
“We’re already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn,” said Cook.
“For example, there are AR apps that let you interact with virtual models of everything you can imagine, from the human body to the solar system – and of course, you experience them like they’re really there.”
The Apple boss said that education becomes more powerful in AR when “every subject comes to life in 3D and said that the potential of the technology is even further reaching.
“Imagine shopping when you can place an object in your living room before you make a purchase, or attending live sporting events when you can see the stats on the field. AR is going to change everything.”
Asked by an analyst on the call when and how AR/VR would start to make an impact on Apple’s income statement, Cook said that its focus “first and foremost” is on customer experience.
“We’re all about making sure the experience is great, he said. “We think that if we get the experience right, that revenues and profits will be a result of getting that right.”
Earlier this year Apple launched ARKit, technology that allows developers to build augmented reality apps that blend virtual objects with the real world using an iOS device’s camera.
Apple has been outspoken in its support of AR over VR technology. On the earnings call Cook said that the mix of virtual and physical “should be a help for humanity”, rather than act as an “isolation kind of thing”.
The comments came as Apple posted revenue of US$52.6 billion, up 12% year-on-year, for the three months ended September 30, 2017. Net income was US$10.7 billion, up 19% year-on-year.
The results marked record fourth quarter revenue with Apple reporting year-on-year growth for all its product categories and its “best quarter ever” for services.