Apple is looking for new ways to continue innovating in its hardware division, and according to a new report from Bloomberg, the company may enter the augmented reality (AR) field with a pair of digital glasses.
Bloomberg is reporting that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, is under immense pressure to deliver new products following slowed down sales of the iPhone — a device that makes up two-thirds of the company’s annual revenue. Cook has spoken before about his interest in AR, and following the success of Pokémon Go in July, Cook told shareholders that they were continuing to “invest a lot into this.”
“We are high on AR for the long run. We think there are great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity,” Cook said, according to Bloomberg.
As of September, Pokémon Go has been downloaded 500 million times, making it one of the most successful — if not the most successful — mobile AR game to be released. Apple has also teamed up both Niantic and Nintendo to bring more games to its mobile devices, including officially porting Pokémon Go over to the Apple Watch. Nintendo’s upcoming Super Mario game, Super Mario Run, will be available to play on iPhones and iPads Dec. 15.
Unlike VR, which Cook has said before that he doesn’t think is commercially viable yet for the mainstream, AR is something that everyone could use in their daily life. Most importantly, it’s an additional product that could be tied directly into Apple’s iPhone business, with the hopes of increasing sales in that division as well.
Apple’s not the only company that’s begun to think about using additional products to help sell phones. Last month, Google launched its “true” first phone — the Pixel. The phone was praised for its almost ridiculous level of power and long-lasting battery life, but was generally criticized for its less-than-innovative design. For Google, however, the aesthetic of the phone doesn’t matter as long as it remains powerful enough to pair and work effortlessly with Daydream, the company’s first VR headset. As of right now, the headset is exclusive to the Pixel, and it’s a selling point for many consumers — and developers.
“I have considered switching from the iPhone to the Pixel because of Daydream,” Kim Koronya, a VR developer in Toronto, told Polygon. “The only mobile VR options we have right now are Samsung and Pixel, but I find that Google is far more focused on the RnD (Research and Development). It all comes down to comfort and the Daydream is like putting on a soft sweatshirt.”
Even though Apple isn’t currently looking into VR, it’s not the only company that’s interested in exploring the potentials of AR. Microsoft has developed its own HoloLens headset, which is currently available to developers or enthusiasts for $3,000. Essentially, the HoloLens shows the person wearing the headset holographic images within their field of vision.
Apple hasn’t commented on the report, but Polygon has reached out for comment.