Although Tim Cook and company have been successful in avoiding all questions about an Apple Car or anything Project Titan-related, augmented reality (AR) discussions haven’t been a secret, and have taken more of a front seat as of late. Tim Cook admitted that AR is high on Apple’s list and that the company is investing a lot in it (points to the increased R&D spending).
Cook went on to say that AR is becoming a much bigger deal than virtual reality (VR). Obviously, VR would be hard-pressed to make its way into a vehicle platform. VR has more relevance in a video game situation, whereas AR projects VR type information into real life situations, such as driving. Cook points out that AR can help to accurately assist in human’s interactions, rather than to replace them.
Highly respected and often eerily correct Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI securities, released a report stating that Apple has shifted Project Titan’s focus toward a software-based autonomous vehicle operating system that will feature AR. This is a way that Apple can provide a system that will give users a unique and innovative experience. Kuo has connections inside Apple that give him an edge on new information. He wrote:
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 believes that augmented reality will become very substantial by 2018, right around the time that Apple will bring the new systems to market. He expects Apple to have marked preliminary integration in current products inside of the next 1-2 years. His projection is that AR and VR will be a $50 billion business in 2018 and triple to $150 billion by 2020, with most of the growth being on the AR side of the spectrum.
Thus far, much of Apple’s success has been related to human-machine interfaces like an innovative mouse for the Mac, the click wheel and keyboards for iPods and iPads, and most importantly, touch screens and Siri. We already know that Apple has a new team of the top engineers from Blackberry QNX, working on such a system. To integrate AR and autonomous driving tech into the already successful Apple CarPlay, is definitely not a far stretch.
Although Cook still beats around the bushes about the transportation-related developments, he has alluded almost directly to the fact that he sees new technologies adding an interesting piece to future transportation and mobility. Added to this, he continues to direct attention to the fact that Apple is pushing forward with AR applications.