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Apple CEO Tim Cook On Virtual Reality: There's No Substitute For Human Contact (cnbc.com) 116

As major tech companies ramp up their efforts to develop new technologies to make sense of virtual and augmented reality spaces, one company is noticeably off the game. We're talking about Apple. And it may have something to do with how it perceives these nascent technology spaces. From an article on CNBC:"There's no substitute for human contact," Apple CEO Tim Cook told BuzzFeed News. "And so you want the technology to encourage that." It's not the first time Cook has indicated that Apple might favor AR. "We are high on AR for the long run," Cook said during an earnings call this past summer. "I think AR can be huge." Huge, indeed -- one could look to the sudden and explosive success of Pokemon Go to see an immediate real-world example.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook On Virtual Reality: There's No Substitute For Human Contact

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2016 @10:24AM (#53075963)

    "...yet."

  • Courage (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2016 @10:27AM (#53075979)

    Human contact will go the way of the headphone jack.

    • by drfishy ( 634081 )
      Sorry, misclick, meant to rate you funny.
    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday October 14, 2016 @12:48PM (#53076839)

      Human contact will go the way of the headphone jack.

      You apparently haven't been hanging out with a lot of teenagers lately. Human contact largely disappeared with the emergence of the smartphone and social networking.

      That said one only needs to look at our current election to see that human contact can be highly overrated in the hands of some people.

      • Consensual pussy grabbing is perfectly fine. Get 'em out of here!
      • Human contact largely disappeared with the emergence of the smartphone and social networking.

        "Human contact largely disappeared with the emergence of additional avenues of human contact."

        I mean seriously, have you been hanging out with a lot of teenagers? If they're not hanging out with each other, they're on their phones to communicate with each other.

      • You apparently haven't been hanging out with a lot of teenagers lately. Human contact largely disappeared with the emergence of the smartphone and social networking.

        So...do teens even get laid anymore?

        Or is that not only hard from a lack of human interaction paradigm, but I'm guessing it is also dangerous for a male today, if he's even the least bit aggressive trying to court women.

        These days, I hear that what was recently normal male behavior in seeking out females, etc....and now likened to sexual assa

        • by Anonymous Coward
          teen sex is largely oral. the only ones that actually fuck get pregnant. I'm surprised there arent lawsuits against phone mfgrs for failure to provide birth control.
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          How about putting it more accurately in context. Teenagers do not get other teenagers to non-reproductively masturbate them as often as before. Taking into account the physical intent of the act, reproduction, is not the actual intent of the act, which is masturbation without reproduction, that incongruity in a more enlightened age is lessening the desire to go from direct masturbation to begging others to masturbate you because you are, incompetent at masturbation or you get a kick out of scamming others i

      • Talking and typing online IS human contact.

  • by mbeckman ( 645148 ) on Friday October 14, 2016 @10:37AM (#53076031)
    ...that there is a dichotomy between VR and AR. They are not mutually exclusive, any more than fruit and footwear are mutually exclusive. VR and AR don't compete, either; they have different applications. The intent of VR is not to emulate human interaction, but to artificially immerse people in environments to which most don't have ready access: flight simulation, museum tours, product design, etc. The purpose of AR is to overlay information on everyone's existing experience: navigation, shopping, and the like.

    Move along.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Your fruit / shoe analogy is wrong. You can wear shoes and eat fruit at the same time. This is more like public transportation vs. cars. Yes they both have a place and serve different markets but they do compete.

      They compete for: R&D dollars for hardware, R&D for content & software, peoples disposable income, peoples thoughts, people's time using each tech, etc.

      It is a relevant questions to a company like Apple, who may be spending real dollars and dedicating staff to these problems. You wan

      • I reject your argument that VR and AR compete. R&D isn't a zero sum game. Their individual markets drives each, and a growing market in both can support simultaneously aggressive R&D expenditures. And your comparison of simultaneous use by a single person is bogus as well. We're talking about products sold, not products used at the same time. I am quite as likely to buy both AR and VR, for their respective (and non-intersecting) applications, as I am to buy both fruit and footwear, for their respect
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2016 @10:52AM (#53076101)

      VR: you are alone in the room, but you see Natalie Portman and she responds to certain actions you can do with the control grips.

      AR: your girlfriend looks like Natalie Portman, you go to the kitchen to heat up some grits.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Virtual Natalie (pre star wars)...... "hey, baby.."

        Virtual Natalie (post star wars)..... one glimpse is all it took. you go to the kitchen, grab a beer, head to the den to watch the game.

    • Shouldn't that be...

      The intent of VR is not to emulate human interaction, but to artificially immerse people in environments to which most don't have ready access: flight simulation, museum tours, product design, etc. that are filled with adverts. The purpose of AR is to overlay more adverts on everyone's existing experience: navigation, shopping, and the like.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I tried the Vive. At first it is just mind-blowing amazing...it totally feels like you are there, even when "there" is a place that can't even exist.

      But, after a few sessions, that novelty completely wears off, and all that is left is a bunch of shallow games with awkward control schemes. I went back to regular gaming, as did most of my friends. Their VR headsets mostly collect dust now, used only when they have guests over who haven't tried it yet.

      • And this is why I went for a rift. By all accounts the rift is more comfortable, more compatible, and slightly better image quality. 90% of the vive games I saw listed were obviously 30min tech demo gimmicks that i wouldnt want to play for any length of time, so I had no issue waiting for the rift's touch controllers to come out which to me seemed like much more suitable input methods for vr than wands (and from all the comparisons Ive see I was right).

        So Im fine with using my rift for what I bought it for,

        • And this is why I went for a rift. By all accounts the rift is more comfortable, more compatible, and slightly better image quality. 90% of the vive games I saw listed were obviously 30min tech demo gimmicks that i wouldnt want to play for any length of time, so I had no issue waiting for the rift's touch controllers to come out which to me seemed like much more suitable input methods for vr than wands (and from all the comparisons Ive see I was right).

          I'm going to be getting a PS4, so I'm going to go for the PlayStation VR [playstation.com]. I prefer the PS4 controllers to any other controller out there. I just can't get used to the offset sticks on the XBone. I also already have Move controllers, but I don't know if the ones for the PS3 will be compatible. I looked at the PlayStation VR FAQ [playstation.com], and it seems like they should be, but there's nothing specific there.

          • We picked up the PSVR yesterday, and to quell your fears: the Move controllers included with the system are the exact same ones that came out with the PS3. Right down to USB Mini-B and the aggravating need to be plugged into the PS4 to be charged.

            That said it's a solid system so far. The fidelity can't match the Vive (which I've demoed), and using a camera for tracking has its limits, but the headset is so comfortable and easy-to-use it makes you wonder how the other hardware companies dropped the ball, S

            • We picked up the PSVR yesterday, and to quell your fears: the Move controllers included with the system are the exact same ones that came out with the PS3. Right down to USB Mini-B and the aggravating need to be plugged into the PS4 to be charged.

              Thanks for the feedback!

        • I am posting this comment from inside my VR system. It works great! Each comment is a little balloon and if I gesture the right way I can read them. VR slashdot also supports unicode, so there are emojis here.

          ide my VR system. It works great! Each comment is a little balloon and if I gesture the right way I can read them. VR slashdot also supports unicode, so there are emojis here.

          ent is a little balloon and if I gesture the right way I can read them. VR slashdot also supports unicode, so there are emojis h

    • Tim Cook is a either a moron who doesn't know what words mean, or he is trying to spin his company's product direction (or lack thereof) in relation to its competitors with gibberish evasion so ridiculous it would make Donald Trump and Baghdad Bob embarrassed.

      How will Apple fanboys spin this one?

      • Tim Cook is a either a moron who doesn't know what words mean, or he is trying to spin his company's product direction (or lack thereof) in relation to its competitors with gibberish evasion so ridiculous it would make Donald Trump and Baghdad Bob embarrassed.

        How will Apple fanboys spin this one?

        Is it allowable to not care about it?

    • You're completely right. There's plenty of room for both, because they're totally different experiences.

      I don't think Apple could even do VR justice. While there's plenty of progress to be made in the field, it just doesn't feel like a "fit" for Apple. Products like the smartphones and wearables aim to be as unobtrusive* and complimentary to their users' day-to-day reality as possible. AR does that while VR, by definition, pulls the user out of that reality. Cook seems to be selling VR short, but in pa

      • You're right that VR doesn't fit Apple's vibe. And there's nothing wrong with that. Apple doesn't have a commercial database for the MacOS either, leaving that to Microsoft and Oracle. They are free to choose their fields of battle, and it's unwise -- as Microsoft has learned -- to try to do everything.
    • ...that there is a dichotomy between VR and AR. They are not mutually exclusive, any more than fruit and footwear are mutually exclusive. VR and AR don't compete, either; they have different applications. The intent of VR is not to emulate human interaction, but to artificially immerse people in environments to which most don't have ready access: flight simulation, museum tours, product design, etc. The purpose of AR is to overlay information on everyone's existing experience: navigation, shopping, and the like. Move along.

      And the difference is, one is little mire than a nausea-inducing fad, and the other actually has real-world applications.

      • To you, maybe. Apparently you have cheap and ready access to all the environments you need to be productive in your career. I assure you that VR is alive and well for cost-effective and safe training in aviation, surgery, deep sea diving, and other costly and risky work environments. A pilot can safely practice single-engine instrument approaches to minimums in a VR simulator, for instance. Maybe you want to do that in a real aircraft, but I don't.
        • To you, maybe. Apparently you have cheap and ready access to all the environments you need to be productive in your career. I assure you that VR is alive and well for cost-effective and safe training in aviation, surgery, deep sea diving, and other costly and risky work environments. A pilot can safely practice single-engine instrument approaches to minimums in a VR simulator, for instance. Maybe you want to do that in a real aircraft, but I don't.

          Perhaps I wasn't specific enough. What I should have said was: "At the Consumer-Level, VR is little more than a nausea-inducing fad".

  • So finally he admits he likes Authoritarian Regimes.

  • I think someone needs a hug.

  • Can't find it on iTunes.... is it Android?
  • >> CEO...On Virtual Reality: There's No Substitute For Human Contact

    It's easy to buy friends and shield yourself from reality when you're worth millions and millions of dollars.
  • Is that actual reality? I didn't know there was a phrase or acronym for this?
  • But if the thing in the VR world your in is so real that it seems like the real thing? Or another person in the VR world that you are interacting with. isn't that human contact?
    • VR (currently) can only emulate/connect with two of the five senses. There's more to the human-world interface than just sight and sound, you know. ;)

      (You would basically have to wear a fully self-contained suit loaded with a ton of sensors, chemicals, and other gear to get taste, smell, and touch involved - at least, until they work out a device-brain interface spec that works and doesn't involve risk-heavy surgery...)

  • Most people turn the AR component off as soon as they learn how.

    • There was a period of a couple of weeks in late August during which I would have *loved* to be able to go after the campus-crowding pokemon go players with an AR, or better yet a flamethrower.

  • Wait, people still play Pokemon Go? That would be news.

    Pokemon Go exploded in popularity for maybe a month, and then people got bored and stopped playing. Apparently it's bad enough that they're already doing some form of "welcome back" campaign to try and get people to start playing again.

    I do agree that AR would be more useful in every day life than VR, but if Pokemon Go is the example, that's not the kind of AR I care about. Just about everyone turns the AR mode off in Pokemon Go because it's just annoyi

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think pokemon go is used because that is the most universally shared experience people have of what AR is. I think everyone but you understands that Tim isn't talking about adding more fake creatures to the world but is instead using Pokemon Go to define and distinguish AR from VR. Most people that don't frequent slashdot don't actually think about this shit all day or know the difference.

      You can either say "pokemon go" or you can try to explain that AR overlays fictitious information and graphics over r

      • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

        I expect most people think of "Pokemon Go" as "that game you have to walk to play" and not the AR aspect of it. The part of the game that's actually AR is very small and limited to overlaying a Pokemon on what the camera is seeing. It's AR but only in the most basic sense in that it's just tied to the direction the camera is facing, it doesn't do any sort of mapping to what it's seeing, it just dumps a Pokemon into the world and then uses the phone's accelerometers to keep it relatively in one place compare

    • by Anonymous Coward

      AR definitely has a lot more potential than VR. Pokemon Go just scratched the surface and it's already the most profitable mobile game ever.

      The average person isn't going to wear a headset and sit on their couch to play video games. AR has a level of immersion VR will never get to. I'm not sure why any company is still investing in VR. People don't want it.

    • Isn't there an AR style app that translates signs, menus, etc...

  • by prelelat ( 201821 ) on Friday October 14, 2016 @11:19AM (#53076259)

    Why would he start supporting VR now, they are late to the bus. Microsoft, google have already started partners with companies or are working on their own thing. Apple is really late to the party and everyone has partnered up. Who are they going to get on board with? Valve? Unlikely.

    So you have them with likely little R&D into the subject two major companies with offerings already out there. If Apple jumps on it now it makes them look weak. They were late to the party, they weren't courageous or innovative. Things they want to be known for. Using the human contact things such bullshit to try and drive attention away from the fact that they missed an opportunity. They aren't going to start now and be innovative, there's enough buzz on the pixels VR capabilities, the Gear VR, the Vive and Rift. They would be a 4th player to the party and they don't want that image.

    This is what damage control looks like.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      This is what being trapped in the profitability bubble looks like.

      They could have been investing their profits, but doing nothing in the short term kept them most profitable so that's what they did.

      Sure, some investment efforts would have been failures but maybe something would have clicked and given them an additional growth option.

    • Why would he start supporting VR now, they are late to the bus.

      ...because VR is still in its (relative) infancy.

      When VR gets good enough for on-the-fly 4k photorealistic resolution, and on-the-fly surround sound (forget taste/touch/smell for now), then we'll talk about who is late to the bus. ;)

      (seriously - you can't even get HD-quality on-the-fly video on a pro user's desktop right now without using a frig-ton of I/O/CPU/RAM and pre-digested animations... and it'll still look canned. A typical photorealistic render viz. LuxRender, iRay or similar will easily eat 30 mi

      • When VR gets good enough for on-the-fly 4k photorealistic resolution, and on-the-fly surround sound (forget taste/touch/smell for now), then we'll talk about who is late to the bus. ;)

        Late to the bus to do what? You are talking about a resolution and sound format not what anyone will do with it. Having higher resolution doesn't magically make use cases appear. Having marginally better sound doesn't make it suddenly useful when it wasn't before. There is no use case that 4K resolution will allow that you couldn't in principle do with 1080p resolution. It doesn't matter how polished VR displays are unless you have something useful you can do with it that people are willing to pay mon

      • You are forgetting having all that without the wired tether

      • Waiting for VR to get 4K resolution is silly. It's like waiting for TV's to get 8K resolution then 12K and so on before you start selling them. Yeah you will get there eventually but do you need it? People thought TV was fine with 480 for years. Yes it will be better, yes it will increase what you can do with it, but that doesn't take away what can be done now in it. Which is very cool stuff. Using it for Autocad work to see a design before it's finished, watching a movie(granted at a lower resolution some

    • Why would he start supporting VR now, they are late to the bus. Microsoft, google have already started partners with companies or are working on their own thing. Apple is really late to the party and everyone has partnered up. Who are they going to get on board with? Valve? Unlikely.

      Yep, that totally sounds like Apple: coming out early before everyone when the technology is new and the market unproven and partnering up with everybody.

      • My point wasn't that they should partner up, it was more that they couldn't even do that. If they started today they would be behind and no innovating. That was my point. The fact that he is even commenting on it makes the technology at least worth looking into, but he doesn't want to because why? It's not a form of connecting people? Like using a computer, iphone or what ever has been described as in the past?

        He's saving face calling it a shitty tech rather than admit that they didn't invest in any kind of

  • Fuck knows we were looking for it so we could sell it to you!

  • I am a fan of both technologies if they are ready for prime time.

    I have had AR apps on my iPhone for what, 6 years now (Theodolite, Layar, etc.) They are useful for what they are, but until I have something like Google glass integrated into my glasses and AR is feeding me info real time my entire day, it is not that groundbreaking. I'm not buying Google glass until it hits like $200 over a normal pair of Rx glasses and they have a solid suite of built in apps.

    My friend had a VR headset 30 years ago that w

  • "And so you want the technology to encourage that"

    Hey Tim, so you've not heard of Grindr, then?

  • No substitute for human contact? Tell that to someone who trolled another in person and as a result gets punched in the face. There are positives and negatives to everything. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... you want the technology to encourage that ...

    Let's remember that many past technologies were driven by pornography or the desire to get laid.

    I'm told that a number of men surf social network sites propositioning single women. Leaving aside the sexual harassment issues, men are using the technology to encourage human (and sexual) contact.

    I'm similarly told there are pages on social network sites where women offer cheap sex. That for me, begets a few questions: Why don't they go where the men are, and use a dating site? Do they still think they're g

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