Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook made some rather positive comments on the current state and potential future for augmented reality (AR) technology. In an interview, Cook stated that he sees AR as being the "bigger bet" over virtual reality (VR), and it's not hard to agree. VR at this point is more expensive than AR, regardless of the solution you use. And as you might expect, the cheaper systems available often offer a less than compelling experience.
On the other hand, AR can be used by anyone with a smartphone, and there are myriad scenarios for it, whether it be for gaming or commercial use (which we've seen examples of in the past). So if AR is so readily accessible, and Tim Cook has good things to say about it, it's pretty obvious that he'd like to integrate AR somehow into his company, and its future product lines.
According to new reports, it looks like that's already beginning to happen. According to Business Insider, Apple hired Yury Petrov as a research scientist. Petrov was previously with Oculus, and is an expert in human vision and optics for head-mounted displays. Fast-forward to this month, and the company plucked Zeyu Li from Magic Leap, an AR startup.
Apple allegedly already has a team of "hundreds" working on potential headset configurations, so based on that, it doesn't seem all too likely at this point that a future iPhone will play the biggest role in Apple's AR adventure. Instead, we might see dedicated devices that perfectly complement an iPhone.
As with all Apple rumors, now we must take these findings with a grain of salt wait and see what happens. It seems certain at this point that Apple is investing much more into AR than VR, though, so just maybe that will help 2017 become the "year of AR".