Apple CEO Tim Cook investing in VR, calls Pokemon Go “incredible”

Apple joins the VR trend as CEO Tim Cook cites Pokemon Go as an example of what the technology can do.

iPhone sales may be dropping, but that doesn’t mean the device is outdated. Apple CEO Tim Cook is hugely interested in augmented and virtual reality, pointing to the possibility we could see classic Apple gadgets like the iPhone, Mac and Apple Watch include extended VR capabilities in the future.

In a July earnings call for Apple, Cook said:

“We have been and continue to invest a lot in [virtual reality]. We are high on AR for the long run.”

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster noted the company spent more money on research and development than it has earned back for the last few quarters, suggesting Apple is developing self-driving cars as well as virtual and augmented reality.

Apple isn’t the only major company to hop on the trend; Microsoft, Facebook and Google are all likely to put out reality-warping gadgets in the future.

Cook cited the runaway success of Pokemon Go as a reason for investing in virtual and augmented reality. He said he wanted to make sure the iPhone was able to support this technology.

Of the iPhone, Cook said:

“AI makes it more and more important, as the phone becomes your assistant. In terms of AR and the Pokemon phenomenon, it’s incredible what has happened there.”

If Apple collects its standard 30% of earnings from Pokemon Go, as it usually does with apps sold from its App Store, it could generate as much as $3 billion in profit over the next few years.

With industry technology juggernauts investing in the technology, Munster firmly believes Pokemon Go is just the beginning:

“I think we are probably going to look back at this and say this was when we started to realize that it was real." 

It’s a virtual race now to see which companies can put out the best VR and AR machines. Either way, Cook’s confidence is a testament that VR’s market impact is just getting started.

Published Aug. 15th 2016
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