Since the phenomenon of Pokémon Go , Augmented Reality has catapulted to the forefront of intrigue in the tech world. And it doesn’t hurt that one of its biggest fans is a head honcho in the industry—Time Cook. In the wake of 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook was very vocal about the future of Augmented Reality, and his feelings towards its incredibly promising capabilities in comparison to Virtual Reality. Now, he’s taken the stage once again to express his thoughts, but with a much bolder statement. Yesterday, many reported that Tim Cook believes Augmented Reality will rival the size and popularity of iPhone’s audience. Like we said, bold statement. In an interview with the Independent, he explained: “I’m excited about Augmented Reality because unlike Virtual Reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently. Most people don’t want to lock themselves out from the world for a long period of time and today you can’t do that because you get sick from it. With AR you can, not be engrossed in something, but have it be a part of your world, of your conversation. That has resonance. I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives. And be entertaining. I view AR like I view the silicon here in my iPhone, it’s not a product per se, it’s a core technology. But there are things to discover before that technology is good enough for the mainstream. I do think there can be a lot of things that really help people out in daily life, real-life things, that’s why I get so excited about it” So, what exactly does this mean? Well for starters, many are beginning to wonder if Augmented Reality will soon become an embedded feature in one of Apple’s forthcoming iPhones , like the 9 or 10. Meanwhile, many companies and brands are putting more time into exploring all of the opportunities that AR presents, and finding ways to seamlessly incorporate the technology into their own marketing efforts. Fashion has always been an industry that’s delved into experimenting with cutting edge technology. In 2012, Net-a-Porter and American Apparel tested the early stages of Augmented Reality through pop-up shops and in-store shopping experiences. Most recently, Gap Inc— owners of Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Intermix, and of course, The Gap, — in collaboration with Google and Avametric has created a soon-to-be-released app named Gap’s “DressingRoom,” Here, users apply the AR technology implemented into the app to try on clothes from the comfort of their own home. Based on your measurements, a virtual 3D model is created and overlayed onto your body so that you can see the way specific clothes will fit you before purchasing them. The hope is that this will allow for a much more seamless shopping experience, as well as reduce the return/exchange rate of clothing due to inaccurate or misleading sizing. Whether you’re aware of it or not, Snapchat already utilizes a version of Augmented Reality, but is racing to take it to the next level. The fun-licking puppy faces and Daft Punk robot head overlays you see on Snapchat is made up of a kind augmented technology. But the company is hoping to take it a step further as it’s been reported to have already spent millions improving its AR feature in a way that the “upgraded system can identity objects and wrap them in an Augmented Reality layer, essentially turning any surface into a billboard and adding new branding opportunities to every Snapchat story.”
It’s clear that ever since Tim Cook gave his initial seal of approval, many of begun to jump ship from Virtual Reality to Augmented Reality. Why? Our thoughts are very similar to his: Augmented Reality is an easy technology to use that doesn’t require an additional comment, like a Virtual Reality headset, but instead makes use of a gadget everyone owns— a smartphone. Furthermore, its type of features allow for a more engaging and social experience, whereas Virtual Reality is much more seclusive and sets its users up for more of a personal, remote experience, which is the exact opposite of what companies and brands want to accomplish.