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Apple's Tim Cook says tech doesn't yet exist to do AR glasses properly, downplays rivals

Apple CEO Tim Cook once again hinted at the prospect of augmented reality glasses in an interview published on Wednesday, while quashing the idea of an announcement in the near future —and indirectly, the efforts of rivals like Microsoft.

Google Glass, a precursor to modern AR technology.

Google Glass, a precursor to modern AR technology.


"There are rumours and gossip about companies working on that, and we obviously don't talk about what we work on," Cook explained to Vogue. "But today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way.

"We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences," he continued. "Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with."

Cook made nearly identical statements about AR glasses in an Independent interview released earlier this week. Both sets of comments suggest that Cook is unimpressed with the Mixed Reality platform being advanced by Microsoft, whose partners have already announced headsets.

Apple's current AR offerings are comparatively modest, mostly involving ARKit and camera and sensor refinements on the iPhone 8 and X. Talking to Vogue though, Cook proposed that over time, AR features in apps "will be as key as having a website." He addressed the magazine's fashion focus by noting that unspecified partners are already planning on building clothing databases that would let people scan an item and quickly buy it, without having to figure out its name first.

In August a report said that Apple has been experimenting with "several different types" of AR glasses. These include versions that would require a phone, and others that would have their own displays, like Microsoft's HoloLens.