Apple CEO Tim Cook has, on many occasions, asserted his belief in augmented reality (AR). He believes that there is more potential in AR than virtual reality (VR), and even though most companies are currently focused on building VR headsets and ecosystems, Apple is ramping up AR research efforts. Now, a new research note states that Apple's focus in AR will give it a lead of 3 to 5 years over others, and the company could also use this AR leverage to in its rumoured own autonomous driving system that it is said to be pursuing instead of developing its own car.
This comes from none other than KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo, and even though he states that Apple is ahead of the game, AR products from the tech giant won't be out anytime soon. Kuo says that the first hint AR capabilities will be seen on the iPhones and iPads, and it won't arrive before the next 1-2 years.
Whenever Apple is ready, it will also leverage this technology to enhance the experience of the Apple Watch and Apple TV, and Kuo also claims that AR will boost its effort to make autonomous driving system a reality. Just like Tim Cook, Kuo also believes more in AR than VR. He says that AR will be a more valuable industry, and Apple's lead in this space will help the company attract significant revenue.
"All of Apple's past successes were related to human-machine interfaces, such as mouse for Mac, click wheel for iPod, and multi-touch for iPhone and iPad. Assuming Apple successfully develops AR, we predict the firm will enjoy the following competitive advantages: (1) redefining existing key products and leading competitors by three to five years. For instance, this could happen for iPhone, iPad and Mac; (2) eliminating obstacles of Apple Watch and Apple TV by offering an innovative user experience; and (3) entering new business fields, such as autonomous driving system," Kuo explains in his note.
While Kuo is seldom wrong as he gets his information from credible supply chain sources, the note is rather speculative. With plans still in the early stages, supply chain sources may not have much information as well. Apple could also very well change direction in future. If the note is correct, it also explains why Apple hasn't ventured into virtual reality, while all of the other big competitors like Samsung and Google are launching new VR headsets to accompany their smartphones.
Apple has earlier been reported to have ditched its Apple Car efforts, and instead focus on the new autonomous driving software that Kuo has also touched upon. The company even hired the former head of BlackBerry's automotive software division as new leadership for Apple's car team. Building software is a calculated move, as it leaves the options open for the company to decide if it wants to partner with or acquire an established car maker, rather than build a car itself.