In an interview with Dutch publication Bright, part of the broader RTL News, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared his view of metaverses, virtual and augmented reality and their place in society. He also touched on the average person’s understanding of metaverses, which he finds to be lacking.
Cook spent a considerable amount of time touring Europe last week. He sat down for an interview with several media publications and spoke on a variety of subjects. Much of his exposition revolved around augmented reality, its potential to revolutionize civilization and Apple’s involvement in it.
According to Cook, AR will be so life-altering that we will never know how we managed to live without it. From education and business to entertainment and lifestyle, there’s no walk of life that won’t benefit from AR in some capacity.
On the other hand, Cook questions the long-term value of virtual reality and its ramifications for “real life.”
“It's something you can really immerse yourself in. And that can be used in a good way. But I don't think you want to live your whole life that way.” Cook added. “VR is for set periods, but not a way to communicate well. So, I'm not against it, but that's how I look at it.”
He also underlines the importance of people knowing a product well, as well as expressing doubt that this is not the case with metaverses.
“I always think it’s important that people understand what something is,” Cook told Bright. “And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.”
It’s possible to disagree with Cook on the first part of his statement, as the average person has long stopped grasping technology (if they ever grasped it in the first place), yet they use it every day.
Understanding doesn’t preclude participation — car drivers don’t have to be mechanics to operate vehicles, just as teenagers don’t have to be software engineers to join social media. Like so, anyone can explore the metaverse without fully understanding it.
However, he’s right on the money with the second part — the average person does not, in fact, know what the metaverse is. Depending on who you ask, you might get wildly differing responses.
“If I asked these few hundred people what they thought the metaverse was, we’d get 205 different answers,” said David Limp, Amazon's head of devices. “We do not have a common definition; it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.”
Apple is currently hard at work on AR hardware. The company plans on releasing a VR/AR headset in 2023, followed by “Apple Glasses” in 2024.
Even though Apple hasn’t shown much interest in the metaverse, Mark Zuckerberg claims the two companies are in a “very deep, philosophical competition” over what the metaverse should be.
As Apple and other tech giants like Meta continue to define and shape the future of augmented and virtual realities, it's evident that AR/VR development companies will play a crucial role in realizing the transformative visions laid out by industry leaders.