Tim Cook Subtly Dinged Mark Zuckerburg by Saying Augmented Reality Doesn't Isolate People Like Other Technologies The Apple CEO seemed to criticize virtual reality technology, which Facebook has invested heavily in
This story originally appeared on Business Insider
Cook was in Dublin to receive an award for Apple's investment in the country, and while at the event he gave a fireside chat-style interview.
When the interviewer asked Cook for tech predictions for the next five to 10 years, Cook said he saw augmented reality (AR) as a huge part of tech's future. "My view is it's the next big thing, and it will pervade our entire lives," he said, as reported by Silicon Republic.
Apple has really pushed augmented reality over the more immersive virtual reality
Apple has thrown its weight behind augmented reality, integrating the technology into the iPhone and making it easier for developers to develop augmented reality apps. One popular app lets iPhone users use their phone to measure real-world items as though it's a measuring tape.
Cook pointed to AR's use in gaming as well as more futuristic uses such as projecting tutorials onto real life: "You may be under the car changing the oil, and you're not sure exactly how to do it. You can use AR."
He then went on to make what looks like a subtle dig at rival tech giant Facebook and its efforts to take a rival technology, virtual reality, mainstream.
He continued: "I think it's something that doesn't isolate people. We can use it to enhance our discussion, not substitute it for human connection, which I've always deeply worried about in some of the other technologies."
Although Cook doesn't explicitly mention virtual reality, it's reasonable to conclude this is what he's referring to.
Though the two technologies are similar, augmented reality projects images onto the outside world, while virtual reality requires a user to put on a headset and immerse themself in the virtual world.
The tech firm most clearly invested in bringing virtual reality to the mainstream is Facebook, which acquired VR company Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion.
At the time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he saw VR as the next major computing platform.
And in a 2016 interview with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider's parent firm Axel Springer, Zuckerberg pushed back against the idea VR could be isolating, saying "nothing could be further from the truth."
In October 2019, Zuckerberg admitted his bet on VR being the next big thing was taking "longer than expected to materialize."