by Chris Morris, Fortune
While many tech CEOs are rushing to invest in the metaverse, Apple’s Tim Cook doesn’t seem so sure.
Speaking to the Dutch edition of Bright last week, Cook said, “I always think it’s important that people understand what something is. And I’m really not sure that the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.”
It’s a bit of a reversal for Cook, who on the company’s first quarter earnings call earlier this year said, when asked about the metaverse: “We’re an innovation company, so we’re always exploring new and emerging technologies. And I’ve talked extensively about how this area is of great interest to us.”
Cook’s feelings about the metaverse, of course, are very different from those of Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is betting big on it.
Cook is much more optimistic, however, about augmented reality (AR), saying that “it won’t be long” before we start looking back to a world without augmented reality, just as we are currently looking back to a world without mobile phones.
“I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything. Imagine suddenly being able to teach with AR and demonstrate things that way. Or medical, and so on,” he said.
Apple, of course, is believed to be working on a virtual/augmented reality headset, though it has not directly confirmed this speculation. Trademark filings, however, indicate that the company has filed claims for the names “Reality One,” “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor” in several countries, including the U.S. and the E.U.
Apple’s headset is expected to combine virtual and augmented reality technology and bring the company into more direct competition with Meta Platforms Inc, the leading provider of virtual reality equipment.
It’s been seven years since the company last pursued a new hardware category with the Apple Watch.