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Tim Cook says AI & augmented reality are core technologies in Apple's future

Apple is deeply invested in artificial intelligence and augmented reality when it comes to future products, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged in a recent interview.

"Look at the core technologies that make up the smartphone today and look at the ones that will be dominant in smartphones of the future — like AI," Cook told the Washington Post, which raised the issue of Apple's prospects given its financial dependence on the iPhone in a slowing smartphone market. "AI will make this product even more essential to you," he asserted.

"It will become even a better assistant than it is today. So where you probably aren't leaving home without it today — you're really going to be connected to it in the future. That level of performance is going to skyrocket."

Apple is stepping towards that goal with gradual improvements in Siri, such as third-party developer support. Cook in fact described it as "broadening Siri in a huge way" to the Post, although the AI assistant's chief rivals — Amazon Alexa and Google — already have similar third-party app hooks.

The CEO also reiterated a recent statement that the company is spending a lot of money on augmented reality, without going into detail about whether the company is only pursuing AR software, or aiming for dedicated hardware like Google Glass, Magic Leap, or Microsoft's HoloLens. To date no AR headset has seen a major commercial release — even Glass has yet to make it past an expensive developer-oriented model.

"I think AR is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology. So, yes, it's something we're doing a lot of things on behind that curtain that we talked about," he said.