Supply Chain Evidence Mounts for Advanced 3D Sensing Abilities Coming to iPhone 8

Ahead of the iPhone 8's predicted September announcement date, supply chain reports over the past few days have indicated a ramp up of 3D sensing components that are predicted to be destined for augmented reality and biometric security applications in 2017's high-end iPhone 8. In a research note by BlueFin Research Partners, "winners" for iPhone 8 component production are said to include Finisar and Lumentum for 3D sensing modules and Broadcom for wireless charging components (via Barron's).

Reports began building last week when iPhone camera component supplier Largan Precision confirmed that it will ship lenses for 3D sensing modules in the second half of 2017, while refraining from directly mentioning Apple and iPhone 8. In a recent quarterly earnings report, supplier Finisar made remarks that heavily suggested it will be "one of two or three suppliers" of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) in the iPhone 8, according to LoupVentures.

iPhone 8 rendering by Benjamin Geskin

Such technology could be implemented into the iPhone 8's rumored 3D sensing module and help "enrich the augmented reality experience" in the next-generation iPhone. Apple and CEO Tim Cook earlier this month detailed plans to back AR and its potential as an indispensable future technology with the reveal of ARKit, a developer platform that will provide the building blocks for consumer AR iPhone apps.

Likewise, Lumentum has announced that it expects to see volume shipments for its VCSEL lasers begin in the second half of 2017, timed with the annual production ramp up of iPhone manufacturing.
On last nights earnings call, Finisar management did not mention Apple by name, but they highlighted they expect to see volume VCSEL orders in their second fiscal quarter, which is the October quarter end of this calendar year. The company anticipates shipping “millions” of units during the quarter, but management also went on to say they anticipate unit shipments to be in the “10s of millions” in future quarters, which gives us further confidence 3D sensing and AR applications will be one of the focus features in the next generation of iPhones. In May of this year, Lumentum was the first VCSEL supplier to announce they anticipate volume shipments to begin in the second half of 2017.

We also want to highlight Finisar acknowledged they are shipping VCSEL lasers to multiple customers, but one customer (aka Apple) is accounting for the majority of total demand. We believe Finisar and others supplying VCSEL lasers are supply constraint and shipping everything they can manufacture. We believe Apple has secured a high percentage of all VCSEL lasers created, which we view as a large competitive advantage and will make Apple a leading AR player in the smartphone space.
LoupVentures further suggested that the significantly updated iPhone 8 will have a front-facing, low-end VCSEL laser and a rear-facing, high-end VCSEL laser, meaning that AR applications could take advantage of either camera. A long-running rumor for the iPhone 8 has been a dual-lens rear camera that could provide increased separation between the two lenses and allow for a greater difference in perspective, helping fuel better AR experiences. A front-facing dual-lens camera has been suggested as a possibility in the new iPhone as well.

In estimating the iPhone 8's cost, the site believes that Apple will add around $100 onto the cost of the smartphone specifically due to incorporating 3D sensing modules. That price comes to around $950 (with no storage tier size references), and largely falling into line with the new iPhone's predicted "premium" status.

For its part, Broadcom is said to have a predominant place in the supply chain for wireless charging components of the iPhone 8, a feature fellow supplier Wistron recently confirmed will be coming to at least one of 2017's iPhone models. iPhone 8's wireless charging is expected to be fueled by inductive technology, because long-range wireless charging for an iPhone is still expected to be years away from feasibility.

In total, reports surrounding iPhone 8 component manufacturing have been increasing recently, with Apple said to be dominating the NAND memory chip supply chain and increasing shortages for an already strained section of component supplies.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: ARKit, augmented reality

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Hands-On With Apple’s ‘ARKit’ Augmented Reality Demo for Developers

With iOS 11, Apple is delving into augmented reality in a big way, introducing an ARKit development platform that will allow developers to quickly and easily build augmented reality experiences into their apps and games.

ARKit is positioned to be the largest AR platform in the world when it launches this fall, using the camera, processors, and motion sensors in the iPhone and iPad to create some incredibly impressive augmented reality interactions.

While we won't see the first augmented reality apps and games built on ARKit for a couple of months, Apple has an ARKit demo app to show off what ARKit can do. We went hands-on with the demo to give MacRumors readers just a small taste of what to expect.

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ARKit uses technology called Visual Inertial Odometry to track the world around an iPad or iPhone, allowing a device to sense how it moves in a room. ARKit automatically analyzes a room's layout, detecting horizontal planes like tables and floors, which then allows virtual objects to be placed upon those surfaces.

With ARKit able to place any virtual object within a physical room, developers can create all kinds of unique experiences, and developers have already released several demos showing what might be possible.

Apple already has at least one major retailer on board to use ARKit -- IKEA. IKEA is developing a new augmented reality app built on ARKit that will let customers preview IKEA products in their own homes before making a purchase. IKEA has offered augmented reality functionality for a few years now, but the company says Apple's new platform will much improve the experience. With ARKit available, IKEA says augmented reality will now "play a key role" in new product lines.

For additional details on other developer tools and features coming in iOS 11, make sure to check out our full iOS 11 roundup.

Related Roundups: Apple VR Project, iOS 11
Tag: ARKit

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AR/VR Headset Shipments Forecast to Hit 100 Million Units By 2021, Buoyed By Apple, Microsoft, and Others

Earlier this month at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple revealed its first big push into the augmented reality and virtual reality spaces, with a new ARKit developer framework and high-performance iMacs with native support for VR content creation.

On Monday, research firm IDC published new data forecasting significant growth in both markets, with dedicated AR and VR headset adoption expected to increase from just under 10 million units last year to 100 million units in 2021.


VR headsets account for much of the device volume so far, with VR headsets powered by a smartphone proving the most popular, according to IDC. The second half of 2016 also saw an increase in volume of Sony PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Facebook's Oculus Rift.
"The next six to 18 months will further stimulate the VR market as PC vendors, along with Microsoft, introduce tethered headsets and high-end standalone VR headsets also enter the market," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "With lower hardware requirements on the PC and lower prices on headsets, VR will be more accessible than ever before. And the introduction of additional motion tracking and hand tracking will help further blur the line between digital and physical reality."
Although IDC believes VR headsets will continue to dominate the market in terms of volume for the foreseeable future, the firm believes AR will have a much bigger impact on the industry as a whole, in part thanks to Apple's recent entry onto the scene.
In terms of dedicated devices, AR continues to sit slightly in the background of VR. The reason for this is not that AR is less important, but rather it is harder to achieve. IDC believes VR headsets will continue to lead in terms of volume throughout the forecast, but maintains that AR in general will have a much bigger impact overall on the industry. Consumers are very likely to have their first AR experience via a mobile phone or tablet rather than a dedicated headset, and Apple's recent introduction of ARKit further supports this.
IDC believes AR headsets will become increasingly popular in markets such as healthcare, manufacturing, field service workers, and design, with commercial shipments to account for just over 80 percent of all AR headsets shipped in the next 5 years. "We believe that many industrial jobs will fundamentally change because of AR in the next 5-years," said Ryan Reith, IDC program vice president. "These are much more opportunistic markets for dedicated AR headsets than the consumer market."

Mobile app developers have been sharing early creations using Apple's new ARKit, suggesting huge enthusiasm for the possibilities for AR on iOS devices. As for VR, Apple's enthusiasm was clear during its WWDC keynote, with the company showing off the power of its new iMacs through a live demo of VR content creation using a HTC Vive, made possible via a new Metal 2 developer kit that has provisions for external GPUs and VR headsets.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project
Tags: IDC, ARKit

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IKEA Details Plans for Furniture Placement App Powered by Apple’s ARKit

At WWDC this year, Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi performed a demo of the company's new augmented reality platform, ARKit, while mentioning popular furniture company IKEA as an upcoming partner in the technology. Similarly, Apple CEO Tim Cook referenced an IKEA AR partnership in a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

Now, Ikea executive Michael Valdsgaard has spoken about the company's partnership with Apple and ARKit, describing an all-new augmented reality app that will help customers make "reliable buying decisions" for IKEA's big ticket items (via Digital.di) [Google Translate].

Image via Digital.di

When it launches, the app will let customers choose which IKEA product they want and then use an iPhone or iPad powered by ARKit to see how the IKEA furniture looks in their own home before it's purchased. IKEA has been doing this for years now, including an early version which required users to scan pages of an IKEA catalogue to view AR furniture, but the company said that Apple's platform will greatly increase the consistency and quality of the experience.

Valdsgaard said that the app will support between 500 and 600 IKEA products at launch with more being added afterwards. The augmented reality experience will even directly play into the development and launch of new products, as Valdsgaard explained that the company plans to first debut new pieces of furniture in the app to give customers a taste of what's coming.
"This will be the first augmented reality app that allows you to make reliable buying decisions," said Michael Valdsgaard, digital transformation manager at Inter Ikea Systems, the company that owns the brand Ikea.

Going forward, it will play a key role in new product lines. "When we launch new products, they will be first in the AR app."
Selling furniture directly within the app is a possibility as well, but isn't the company's focus for the first iteration of the software. Valdsgaard said, "Ideally, you could put a sofa in your home with the help of the app, and then with one click add it in the shopping cart on the site. But we have a tight deadline."

Several teams are working on the technology behind the augmented reality app, including one "innovation team" of 150 people located in Älmhult, Sweden -- where the first IKEA opened -- as well as a twenty-person team specifically responsible for the 3D modeling of furniture. The ARKit-powered IKEA app is expected to launch this fall, following the iOS 11 update.

Tags: Ikea, ARKit

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Tim Cook Talks HomePod, AR, and How America is ‘More Important Than Bloody Politics’ in New Interview

Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week to discuss a collection of topics related to Apple and the tech industry, including augmented reality, the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, the HomePod, and the opinions he has following his work with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bloomberg Businessweek's full interview with Tim Cook will appear in the Sunday, June 19 edition of the magazine, but for now the site has shared a few interesting snippets from the talk.

One of the major talking points of the interview centered around the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-based speaker for the home that the company says will have a focus on high quality audio playback. When asked whether or not he thinks people will actually pay $349 for a HomePod, Cook pointed out the same question that gets brought up heading into the launch of every new Apple product.

Image via Bloomberg Businessweek
If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, “Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?” And when iPhone was announced, it was, “Is anybody gonna pay”—whatever it was at that time—“for an iPhone?” The iPad went through the same thing. We have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted.

When I was growing up, audio was No. 1 on the list of things that you had to have. You were jammin’ out on your stereo. Audio is still really important in all age groups, not just for kids. We’re hitting on something people will be delighted with. It’s gonna blow them away. It’s gonna rock the house.
The main iOS topic covered in the new interview was augmented reality and its upcoming addition in iOS 11 thanks to ARKit. Cook said that he's so excited about the possibilities for the future of AR that he just wants to "yell out and scream," while admitting that there are limitations to the technology in its current state. But he thinks that those limitations are the building blocks of an "incredible runway" with a bright future, and said that, "When people begin to see what’s possible, it’s going to get them very excited—like we are, like we’ve been."

Bloomberg Businessweek asked how much time Cook spends thinking about his own legacy -- in the context of Steve Jobs -- to which Cook plainly stated, "None." Cook hopes that people simply remember him "as a good and decent man," and wants Jobs' DNA to remain the heart of the company for any future CEO over the next 100 years. Cook explained that while Apple as a whole will adjust and change with the times, this "Constitution" created through Jobs' beliefs and actions should be set in stone.
His ethos should drive that—the attention to detail, the care, the ­simplicity, the focus on the user and the user experience, the focus on building the best, the focus that good isn’t good enough, that it has to be great, or in his words, “insanely great,” that we should own the proprietary technology that we work with because that’s the only way you can control your future and control your quality and user experience.

And you should have the courage to walk away and be honest with yourself when you do something wrong, that you shouldn’t be so married to your position and your pride that you can’t say, “I’m changing directions.” These kind of things, these guardrails, should be the basis for Apple a century from now.

It’s like the Constitution, which is the guide for the United States. It should not change. We should revere it. In essence, these principles that Steve learned over many years are the basis for Apple. It doesn’t mean the company hasn’t changed. The company’s going to change. It’s going to go into different product areas. It’s going to learn and adjust. Many things have changed in the company, even in the last six to seven years. But our “Constitution” shouldn’t change. It should remain the same.
Cook was also directly asked about his experience working with President Donald Trump, including a tech summit late last year that saw a group of CEOs attending a meeting in Trump Tower to discuss trade, immigration, vocational education, and more. Ultimately, Cook admitted that he and Trump have "dramatically different" beliefs in most areas, and he argued that above all else, "America's more important than bloody politics."
I feel a great responsibility as an American, as a CEO, to try to influence things in areas where we have a level of expertise. I’ve pushed hard on immigration. We clearly have a very different view on things in that area. I’ve pushed on climate. We have a different view there. There are clearly areas where we’re not nearly on the same page.

We’re dramatically different. I hope there’s some areas where we’re not. His focus on jobs is good. So we’ll see. Pulling out of the Paris climate accord was very disappointing. I felt a responsibility to do every single thing I could for it not to happen. I think it’s the wrong decision. If I see another opening on the Paris thing, I’m going to bring it up again.

At the end of the day, I’m not a person who’s going to walk away and say, “If you don’t do what I want, I leave.” I’m not on a council, so I don’t have those kind of decisions. But I care deeply about America. I want America to do well. America’s more important than bloody politics from my point of view.
Rounding out the questions for the interview snippets posted today, Bloomberg Businessweek asked Cook to respond to critics who say Apple isn't innovating anymore. Cook answered with the long-time Apple argument that it's not about being first to a product category, it's about being the best in the category, while focusing on what particularly will elevate its users' lives: "It’s actually not about competing, from our point of view. It’s about thinking through for the Apple user what thing will improve their lives."

The rest of the interview includes Cook's comments on the enterprise market, Apple's $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund, and his opinions on a tax plan for repatriating the international earnings of U.S. companies. More topics are expected to be covered in the full interview on June 19.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


Discuss this article in our forums

Tim Cook Talks HomePod, AR, and How America is ‘More Important Than Bloody Politics’ in New Interview

Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week to discuss a collection of topics related to Apple and the tech industry, including augmented reality, the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, the HomePod, and the opinions he has following his work with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bloomberg Businessweek's full interview with Tim Cook will appear in the Sunday, June 19 edition of the magazine, but for now the site has shared a few interesting snippets from the talk.

One of the major talking points of the interview centered around the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-based speaker for the home that the company says will have a focus on high quality audio playback. When asked whether or not he thinks people will actually pay $349 for a HomePod, Cook pointed out the same question that gets brought up heading into the launch of every new Apple product.

Image via Bloomberg Businessweek
If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, “Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?” And when iPhone was announced, it was, “Is anybody gonna pay”—whatever it was at that time—“for an iPhone?” The iPad went through the same thing. We have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted.

When I was growing up, audio was No. 1 on the list of things that you had to have. You were jammin’ out on your stereo. Audio is still really important in all age groups, not just for kids. We’re hitting on something people will be delighted with. It’s gonna blow them away. It’s gonna rock the house.
The main iOS topic covered in the new interview was augmented reality and its upcoming addition in iOS 11 thanks to ARKit. Cook said that he's so excited about the possibilities for the future of AR that he just wants to "yell out and scream," while admitting that there are limitations to the technology in its current state. But he thinks that those limitations are the building blocks of an "incredible runway" with a bright future, and said that, "When people begin to see what’s possible, it’s going to get them very excited—like we are, like we’ve been."

Bloomberg Businessweek asked how much time Cook spends thinking about his own legacy -- in the context of Steve Jobs -- to which Cook plainly stated, "None." Cook hopes that people simply remember him "as a good and decent man," and wants Jobs' DNA to remain the heart of the company for any future CEO over the next 100 years. Cook explained that while Apple as a whole will adjust and change with the times, this "Constitution" created through Jobs' beliefs and actions should be set in stone.
His ethos should drive that—the attention to detail, the care, the ­simplicity, the focus on the user and the user experience, the focus on building the best, the focus that good isn’t good enough, that it has to be great, or in his words, “insanely great,” that we should own the proprietary technology that we work with because that’s the only way you can control your future and control your quality and user experience.

And you should have the courage to walk away and be honest with yourself when you do something wrong, that you shouldn’t be so married to your position and your pride that you can’t say, “I’m changing directions.” These kind of things, these guardrails, should be the basis for Apple a century from now.

It’s like the Constitution, which is the guide for the United States. It should not change. We should revere it. In essence, these principles that Steve learned over many years are the basis for Apple. It doesn’t mean the company hasn’t changed. The company’s going to change. It’s going to go into different product areas. It’s going to learn and adjust. Many things have changed in the company, even in the last six to seven years. But our “Constitution” shouldn’t change. It should remain the same.
Cook was also directly asked about his experience working with President Donald Trump, including a tech summit late last year that saw a group of CEOs attending a meeting in Trump Tower to discuss trade, immigration, vocational education, and more. Ultimately, Cook admitted that he and Trump have "dramatically different" beliefs in most areas, and he argued that above all else, "America's more important than bloody politics."
I feel a great responsibility as an American, as a CEO, to try to influence things in areas where we have a level of expertise. I’ve pushed hard on immigration. We clearly have a very different view on things in that area. I’ve pushed on climate. We have a different view there. There are clearly areas where we’re not nearly on the same page.

We’re dramatically different. I hope there’s some areas where we’re not. His focus on jobs is good. So we’ll see. Pulling out of the Paris climate accord was very disappointing. I felt a responsibility to do every single thing I could for it not to happen. I think it’s the wrong decision. If I see another opening on the Paris thing, I’m going to bring it up again.

At the end of the day, I’m not a person who’s going to walk away and say, “If you don’t do what I want, I leave.” I’m not on a council, so I don’t have those kind of decisions. But I care deeply about America. I want America to do well. America’s more important than bloody politics from my point of view.
Rounding out the questions for the interview snippets posted today, Bloomberg Businessweek asked Cook to respond to critics who say Apple isn't innovating anymore. Cook answered with the long-time Apple argument that it's not about being first to a product category, it's about being the best in the category, while focusing on what particularly will elevate its users' lives: "It’s actually not about competing, from our point of view. It’s about thinking through for the Apple user what thing will improve their lives."

The rest of the interview includes Cook's comments on the enterprise market, Apple's $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund, and his opinions on a tax plan for repatriating the international earnings of U.S. companies. More topics are expected to be covered in the full interview on June 19.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


Discuss this article in our forums

Tim Cook Talks HomePod, AR, and How America is ‘More Important Than Bloody Politics’ in New Interview

Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week to discuss a collection of topics related to Apple and the tech industry, including augmented reality, the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, the HomePod, and the opinions he has following his work with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bloomberg Businessweek's full interview with Tim Cook will appear in the Sunday, June 19 edition of the magazine, but for now the site has shared a few interesting snippets from the talk.

One of the major talking points of the interview centered around the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-based speaker for the home that the company says will have a focus on high quality audio playback. When asked whether or not he thinks people will actually pay $349 for a HomePod, Cook pointed out the same question that gets brought up heading into the launch of every new Apple product.

Image via Bloomberg Businessweek
If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, “Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?” And when iPhone was announced, it was, “Is anybody gonna pay”—whatever it was at that time—“for an iPhone?” The iPad went through the same thing. We have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted.

When I was growing up, audio was No. 1 on the list of things that you had to have. You were jammin’ out on your stereo. Audio is still really important in all age groups, not just for kids. We’re hitting on something people will be delighted with. It’s gonna blow them away. It’s gonna rock the house.
The main iOS topic covered in the new interview was augmented reality and its upcoming addition in iOS 11 thanks to ARKit. Cook said that he's so excited about the possibilities for the future of AR that he just wants to "yell out and scream," while admitting that there are limitations to the technology in its current state. But he thinks that those limitations are the building blocks of an "incredible runway" with a bright future, and said that, "When people begin to see what’s possible, it’s going to get them very excited—like we are, like we’ve been."

Bloomberg Businessweek asked how much time Cook spends thinking about his own legacy -- in the context of Steve Jobs -- to which Cook plainly stated, "None." Cook hopes that people simply remember him "as a good and decent man," and wants Jobs' DNA to remain the heart of the company for any future CEO over the next 100 years. Cook explained that while Apple as a whole will adjust and change with the times, this "Constitution" created through Jobs' beliefs and actions should be set in stone.
His ethos should drive that—the attention to detail, the care, the ­simplicity, the focus on the user and the user experience, the focus on building the best, the focus that good isn’t good enough, that it has to be great, or in his words, “insanely great,” that we should own the proprietary technology that we work with because that’s the only way you can control your future and control your quality and user experience.

And you should have the courage to walk away and be honest with yourself when you do something wrong, that you shouldn’t be so married to your position and your pride that you can’t say, “I’m changing directions.” These kind of things, these guardrails, should be the basis for Apple a century from now.

It’s like the Constitution, which is the guide for the United States. It should not change. We should revere it. In essence, these principles that Steve learned over many years are the basis for Apple. It doesn’t mean the company hasn’t changed. The company’s going to change. It’s going to go into different product areas. It’s going to learn and adjust. Many things have changed in the company, even in the last six to seven years. But our “Constitution” shouldn’t change. It should remain the same.
Cook was also directly asked about his experience working with President Donald Trump, including a tech summit late last year that saw a group of CEOs attending a meeting in Trump Tower to discuss trade, immigration, vocational education, and more. Ultimately, Cook admitted that he and Trump have "dramatically different" beliefs in most areas, and he argued that above all else, "America's more important than bloody politics."
I feel a great responsibility as an American, as a CEO, to try to influence things in areas where we have a level of expertise. I’ve pushed hard on immigration. We clearly have a very different view on things in that area. I’ve pushed on climate. We have a different view there. There are clearly areas where we’re not nearly on the same page.

We’re dramatically different. I hope there’s some areas where we’re not. His focus on jobs is good. So we’ll see. Pulling out of the Paris climate accord was very disappointing. I felt a responsibility to do every single thing I could for it not to happen. I think it’s the wrong decision. If I see another opening on the Paris thing, I’m going to bring it up again.

At the end of the day, I’m not a person who’s going to walk away and say, “If you don’t do what I want, I leave.” I’m not on a council, so I don’t have those kind of decisions. But I care deeply about America. I want America to do well. America’s more important than bloody politics from my point of view.
Rounding out the questions for the interview snippets posted today, Bloomberg Businessweek asked Cook to respond to critics who say Apple isn't innovating anymore. Cook answered with the long-time Apple argument that it's not about being first to a product category, it's about being the best in the category, while focusing on what particularly will elevate its users' lives: "It’s actually not about competing, from our point of view. It’s about thinking through for the Apple user what thing will improve their lives."

The rest of the interview includes Cook's comments on the enterprise market, Apple's $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund, and his opinions on a tax plan for repatriating the international earnings of U.S. companies. More topics are expected to be covered in the full interview on June 19.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


Discuss this article in our forums

Tim Cook Talks HomePod, AR, and How America is ‘More Important Than Bloody Politics’ in New Interview

Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week to discuss a collection of topics related to Apple and the tech industry, including augmented reality, the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, the HomePod, and the opinions he has following his work with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bloomberg Businessweek's full interview with Tim Cook will appear in the Sunday, June 19 edition of the magazine, but for now the site has shared a few interesting snippets from the talk.

One of the major talking points of the interview centered around the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-based speaker for the home that the company says will have a focus on high quality audio playback. When asked whether or not he thinks people will actually pay $349 for a HomePod, Cook pointed out the same question that gets brought up heading into the launch of every new Apple product.

Image via Bloomberg Businessweek
If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, “Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?” And when iPhone was announced, it was, “Is anybody gonna pay”—whatever it was at that time—“for an iPhone?” The iPad went through the same thing. We have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted.

When I was growing up, audio was No. 1 on the list of things that you had to have. You were jammin’ out on your stereo. Audio is still really important in all age groups, not just for kids. We’re hitting on something people will be delighted with. It’s gonna blow them away. It’s gonna rock the house.
The main iOS topic covered in the new interview was augmented reality and its upcoming addition in iOS 11 thanks to ARKit. Cook said that he's so excited about the possibilities for the future of AR that he just wants to "yell out and scream," while admitting that there are limitations to the technology in its current state. But he thinks that those limitations are the building blocks of an "incredible runway" with a bright future, and said that, "When people begin to see what’s possible, it’s going to get them very excited—like we are, like we’ve been."

Bloomberg Businessweek asked how much time Cook spends thinking about his own legacy -- in the context of Steve Jobs -- to which Cook plainly stated, "None." Cook hopes that people simply remember him "as a good and decent man," and wants Jobs' DNA to remain the heart of the company for any future CEO over the next 100 years. Cook explained that while Apple as a whole will adjust and change with the times, this "Constitution" created through Jobs' beliefs and actions should be set in stone.
His ethos should drive that—the attention to detail, the care, the ­simplicity, the focus on the user and the user experience, the focus on building the best, the focus that good isn’t good enough, that it has to be great, or in his words, “insanely great,” that we should own the proprietary technology that we work with because that’s the only way you can control your future and control your quality and user experience.

And you should have the courage to walk away and be honest with yourself when you do something wrong, that you shouldn’t be so married to your position and your pride that you can’t say, “I’m changing directions.” These kind of things, these guardrails, should be the basis for Apple a century from now.

It’s like the Constitution, which is the guide for the United States. It should not change. We should revere it. In essence, these principles that Steve learned over many years are the basis for Apple. It doesn’t mean the company hasn’t changed. The company’s going to change. It’s going to go into different product areas. It’s going to learn and adjust. Many things have changed in the company, even in the last six to seven years. But our “Constitution” shouldn’t change. It should remain the same.
Cook was also directly asked about his experience working with President Donald Trump, including a tech summit late last year that saw a group of CEOs attending a meeting in Trump Tower to discuss trade, immigration, vocational education, and more. Ultimately, Cook admitted that he and Trump have "dramatically different" beliefs in most areas, and he argued that above all else, "America's more important than bloody politics."
I feel a great responsibility as an American, as a CEO, to try to influence things in areas where we have a level of expertise. I’ve pushed hard on immigration. We clearly have a very different view on things in that area. I’ve pushed on climate. We have a different view there. There are clearly areas where we’re not nearly on the same page.

We’re dramatically different. I hope there’s some areas where we’re not. His focus on jobs is good. So we’ll see. Pulling out of the Paris climate accord was very disappointing. I felt a responsibility to do every single thing I could for it not to happen. I think it’s the wrong decision. If I see another opening on the Paris thing, I’m going to bring it up again.

At the end of the day, I’m not a person who’s going to walk away and say, “If you don’t do what I want, I leave.” I’m not on a council, so I don’t have those kind of decisions. But I care deeply about America. I want America to do well. America’s more important than bloody politics from my point of view.
Rounding out the questions for the interview snippets posted today, Bloomberg Businessweek asked Cook to respond to critics who say Apple isn't innovating anymore. Cook answered with the long-time Apple argument that it's not about being first to a product category, it's about being the best in the category, while focusing on what particularly will elevate its users' lives: "It’s actually not about competing, from our point of view. It’s about thinking through for the Apple user what thing will improve their lives."

The rest of the interview includes Cook's comments on the enterprise market, Apple's $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund, and his opinions on a tax plan for repatriating the international earnings of U.S. companies. More topics are expected to be covered in the full interview on June 19.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Developers Share First Augmented Reality Creations Using Apple’s ARKit

Apple only announced its augmented reality developer platform ARKit last week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, but some video clips have already been posted online by developers eager to showcase the impressive potential of the software.

ARKit enables iPhones and iPads running iOS 11 to superimpose computer-generated graphics over the real world, allowing developers to take their apps beyond the screen and into the user's environment.

Apple ARKit running Unity and Overwatch Widowmaker, by Cody Brown

By using the built-in camera, processors, and motion sensors found in iOS devices, virtual content appears on top of real-world scenes, and users don't need any special equipment to enjoy them because ARKit does the heavy lifting.

One developer who spoke to Motherboard said Apple had improved upon existing AR solutions like Hololens and Google Tango by making the ARKit framework elegant and simple to use.
"The most impressive aspect of ARKit is that it tends to just work," said Cody Brown, founder of virtual reality production studio IRL, in an online interview with Motherboard. "Other AR software often requires some sort of physical tracking mechanism (like a QR code), which inevitably becomes a major piece of friction if you are trying to get anyone to use this stuff.

"Another incredible aspect of ARKit is how it handles lighting adjustments in real time, continued Brown. "I can only imagine the math and magic underneath this tech to make it work."
During its keynote at WWDC, Apple demoed a range of effects that ARKit is capable of. One demo by Wingnut Studios wowed the audience with a tabletop sci-fi raider assault. Another showed a user placing a steaming digital coffee mug and a lamp on a table and moving the objects around to show off the tracking and shadow effects.

Several other ARKit developer demos have since appeared online, including a virtual "iPhone 8", roving StarWars character BB-8, dog-stalking zombies, office floor naval battles, dancing Candy rock stars, and more.

Rainforest garage by 8ninths

Apple has invested heavily in augmented reality, making several VR/AR company acquisitions in recent years including PrimeSense, FaceShift, and Metaio. Apple's much-anticipated "iPhone 8", which is expected to be announced in September, is rumored to have 3D sensing capabilities, with augmented reality being one possible use for the technology.

ARKit will come to compatible devices as part of iOS 11, which Apple is set to release in the fall.

Related Roundups: Apple VR Project, iOS 11
Tag: ARKit

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Pokémon Go Announces In-Game and Real Life Anniversary Events as Niantic Touts Apple’s ARKit

It's just under a month until the one year anniversary of Pokémon Go, which began appearing on the iOS App Store in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand in early July of 2016. To celebrate the occasion, developer Niantic today revealed a few events coming to Pokémon trainers both inside of the game and outside, in the form of real-life Pokémon Go Festivals.

Starting off within the game, the Solstice Event will kick off next week on June 13 and feature Fire-type and Ice-type Pokémon prominently in the wild, increased XP bonuses for accurate Poké Ball throws, and Lucky Egg discounts in the shop. Further updates and events were left vague by Niantic, but the company said that trainers can look forward to a new update soon "focused on collaborative group gameplay."


Gyms will be temporarily disabled for a period of time to prepare for the Solstice Event, but the developer didn't specify when that will happen. Additionally, Niantic announced that its game has reached 750 million global downloads.
We’re celebrating two amazing milestones—Pokémon GO’s one-year anniversary and 750 million global downloads—and you’re invited to join in on the fun! Over the next few months, we’re hosting real-world and in-game events planned alongside some very exciting new features that will get you outside exploring the world with family and friends. Get ready for an action-packed couple of months!
Staying true to Pokémon Go's gameplay, Niantic also announced Pokémon Go Fest Chicago, which will encourage players to get outside and visit downtown Chicago's Grant Park on July 22 to participate in various Pokémon-themed activities. Tickets for the event, as well as more detailed information, will go live on June 19. Similar festivities will be held across Europe from June to September, as well as in Yokohama, Japan where a "Pikachu Outbreak" event will debut in August.

Earlier this week, Apple announced a new augmented reality developer platform called ARKit at its WWDC keynote, describing how the technology will generate more true-to-life AR interactions within games like Pokémon Go. At the Brilliant Minds conference in Stockholm this week (via Bloomberg), Niantic CEO John Hanke reinforced the idea that Apple's push into AR should not be taken lightly.
“I don’t think anyone should bet against Apple,” John Hanke said at the Brilliant Minds conference in Stockholm. "I personally think AR is going to be a really important next computing platform that can succeed the mobile phone. It’s a few years off."
According to Hanke, the new and ARKit-backed version of Pokémon Go will be released this fall. During WWDC, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi presented ARKit and the Pokémon Go update enhancements coming soon, stating, "The Pokémon is so real, he's right there on the ground. As the ball bounces, it actually bounces right there in the real environment. It's AR like you've never seen it before."


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