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Tim Cook loves AR but says the technology to support Smart Glasses isn’t ready

Published Oct 11th, 2017 8:51AM EDT
Apple Smart Glasses

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Amid reports that Apple has been busy developing a pair of advanced smart glasses, Tim Cook went on record during a recent interview with The Independent and essentially put to bed any hopes that such a product might see the light of day anytime soon. Though Cook didn’t deny Apple’s interest in such a product, he flat-out said that the technology needed to make such a product feasible simply isn’t mature enough right now.

“But today I can tell you the technology itself doesn’t exist to do [smart glasses] in a quality way,” Cook said. “The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face – there’s huge challenges with that. The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet.”

Cook also emphasized that Apple’s top priority is to be the best, not the first. That being the case, Cook said that any type of smart glasses product Apple would release today wouldn’t be anything that Apple or consumers “would be satisfied with.”

Cook’s comments are interesting, especially given that the rumors surrounding Apple’s interest in smart glasses have increased steadily over the last year. Not too long ago, the Financial Times — which has an incredibly strong track record with respect to Apple rumors — reported that Apple was actively trying to engineer a pair of AR powered smart glasses equipped with 3D cameras. Additionally, a Bloomberg report from last November said that Apple’s was working on a device capable of connecting “wirelessly to iPhones, show images and other information in the wearer’s field of vision.”

All that said, it’s extremely likely that Apple is in fact researching the feasibility of AR powered glasses, but it may not ever be something Apple ever releases. As we’ve seen over the years, Apple has no problem pouring hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars into research initiatives that never result in a final product. We saw that a few years ago with Apple’s mythical HDTV and, more recently, with Apple’s car initiative, otherwise known as Project Titan.

Still, Cook didn’t rule out the possibility of Apple smart glasses completely, noting that “most technology challenges can be solved, but it’s a matter of how long.”

Cook’s full interview, which focuses mostly on Apple’s ARKit framework and the potential for augmented reality to change the way we interact with the world, is well worth checking out and can be read in its entirety over here.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.