Apple just announced its third quarter results for 2016, and of course the Pokémon GO phenomena came up during CEO Tim Cook’s Investor Earnings call of the company. Tim Cook revealed that Apple believes in Augmented Reality for the long run, and is investing in the technology.
Tim Cook was asked about augmented reality theme, and what sort of impact it will it have on the future, especially given the Pokémon phenomena. Cook said the Pokémon GO — he pronounced it as Poke-man during the course of his answer, which of course has become a story in itself — madness shows that “AR can be really great” . Given that Pokémon GO app is the number one downloaded app, top grossing app across every single App Store where it has been officially launched, there’s no doubt Apple is pretty happy with this game.
Cook then went on to say, the company is investing in Augmented Reality and are ‘high on AR for the long run”. He added: “We think there are great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. And so we’re investing, and the number one thing is to make sure our products work well with other developers’ products like Pokémon,” he added pointing out this is the reason why so many iPhones are “out in the wild right now chasing Pokémons.”
According to Cook, the Pokémon GO phenomena shows what “innovative apps and the whole ecosystem” can do for customers, and pointed out the developer Niantic Labs has not even gone worldwide thanks to the pressure on their servers. “But I’m sure that they will over time,” he said, which sounds like good news because most of us playing in India on iOS have used iOS store accounts from other countries to get this game.
Cook was also asked if he believes AR will end up becoming another computing platform. He said that’s something they will wait and see. “AR can be huge, even if it doesn’t become a separate platform,” he added. Let’s not forget rivals Microsoft, Google are all working on AR-style headsets with Microsoft’s HoloLens being one of the more ambitious projects from the Redmont giant.
Apple for its part has never really much revealed about its plans on Virtual and Augmented Reality. But a report in March in the Financial Times said the Cupertino giant has assembled a large team of experts to build both VR and AR prototypes of headsets. The report said the secret research unit consists of staff poached from other companies, including leading virtual reality researcher Doug Bowman.
In the Q1 2016, earnings call, Cook had said he did not think virtual reality (VR) was a niche field. He had gone on to say, “It’s (VR) really cool. It has some interesting applications.” Of course, that didn’t reveal much, but Apple has always remained tight-lipped about any future products.
For Apple with iPhone sales slowing down, it will need to look into other products as well, and VR in mobile is expected to the next big thing. Rival Samsung already has a VR-mobile headset powered by Oculus where its top-end Galaxy smartphones can be used to get a complete VR experience.
Now in the latest earnings call, Tim Cook has indicated Apple is investing in augmented reality as well. The Pokémon GO phenomena has shown that AR mixed with childhood nostalgia can make big bucks for both the developer and Apple. Whether Apple reveals more on the AR and VR front is something that will be eagerly watched.