Tim Cook Chooses AR Over VR. Steve Jobs Wouldn’t Have.

Steven Troughton-Smith is big on AR.

I’m big on VR.

We have bitch-slap fests informed dialogues about it on Twitter.

He’s pointed me to Tim Cook’s latest senile ravings about the supremacy of AR: Apple’s Tim Cook says augmented reality, not VR, is the future

This is basically Cook’s argument in one sentence. No, really, it is:

And few people in here are going to view that it’s acceptable to be enclosed in something [makes a gesture around his head], because we’re all social people at heart.

Yes, that’s true. I’ve known it since the early 1980s when everyone was dismissing me talking about CompuServe’s CB Simulator.

And it’s still true today (both people being social and people dismissing me!).

95 out of 100 phones I see used in the wild are doing messaging; there’s the social thing Cook is talking about. 4 out of 100 are doing photos (with half of those being sad, sad people with Selfie Sticks). Only 1 in 100 are doing a solitary thing, like a game or reading.

And yet what happens when people go home?

They turn on the TV. And unless they’re messaging with someone during it, that’s a solitary entertainment event.

Why are big-screen TVs so popular? Why does Hollywood screech about piracy?

Movie theaters are more social than TV watching, so why does Hollywood always complain about losses?

Because most people don’t want to be social all the time.

Excluding sociopaths, psychopaths, and other -paths, everyone wants — and needs — time alone.

Who at work ever says, “I’m watching Fear the Walking Dead on TV tonight. Why don’t you all come over and see it with me?” Pffft. Only some kind of -path. No one wants to hear your goddammed mouth running with stupid commentary during it.

Which is why people tell other people to text, not voice call.

We are now, today, in 2016, free to be social only on our own terms.

Steven Troughton-Smith has tried Microsoft HoloLens and is sold on that idea. I guess he thinks Apple will produce something similar (but far less clunky). That will take ages.

Meanwhile, how social would wearing a pair of glasses be? Would people want to share glasses? I don’t know about anyone else, but my personal answer is Hell no! I don’t want your face grease on my glasses. And I’m sure you don’t want mine on your face. And I don’t want to contract your damn pink eye, either.

So let’s say Apple’s first gambit is to do AR by phone. What a snore. That’s so 2009.

And how is that even social? Does Cook expect people to travel in packs and look at what’s on someone’s phone? Or iPad? Remember, people are already being social via messaging. AR would interrupt that. Where’s the social?

I think Cook saw Pokémon Go and that was his Holy Shit! Moment. How pathetic.

Steven Troughton-Smith also thinks AR will be a computing platform. For Apple? They have their hands full with complaints about buggy iOS and Mac software [same-day update: See end of post]. They’re going to compound their degradation by creating something new for AR? I have only two legs and Steven has pulled two already. Get away from that other thing. It’s not a third leg.

Unlike Tim Cook, Steve Jobs would have embraced VR. Because he had Hollywood experience.

Talk about games games games all you want.

But nothing in games — or anything else — compares to going to the Oscar awards.

Go on. Name the Spielberg of games? Hello? Bueller?

Go on. Show me the TV shows that discuss games income like they discuss Hollywood box office grosses. Hello? Ain’t none.

Games can make more money than Hollywood. But no one gives a shit about that industry. Not like Hollywood.

Hollywood is cool. Games aren’t.

Jobs would have understood that VR would have been something he could sell to Hollywood. AR? AR is nothing but annotations of boring reality. Footnotes that no one reads.

Cook’s promotion of AR is nothing but a smokescreen to hide the fact that Apple is caught short technologically. It can’t embrace VR because their phones aren’t up to it — a 1920 x 1080 iPhone Plus screen is inadequate — and their Macs aren’t up to it, either. Macs are hobbled by crappy Intel GPUs. Everyone in tech knows this. Cook hopes people out there in the real world don’t, so he pimps AR. The only thing Apple can do.

Cook can bray all he wants about AR. It doesn’t matter. VR is where the action is at and where the future is going.

AR? Yeah, eventually it’ll become this nightmare:


Good luck surviving that shit.

Same-day update: Regarding declining quality of Apple’s software that precludes any silly thoughts of them doing an AR platform: A Declining Trajectory:

There’s something wrong here. A death-march upgrade cycle is producing substandard software at the very least, and it’s diluting a hardware brand that’s probably unmatched in the industry, if not the world in general. It’s with mixed humour and genuine fear that people assert they’ll never get into version 1.0 of an Apple-made self-driving car. Perish the thought.

He’s not the only person to say this. Just the latest one.

Previously here:

Daydream View

This entry was posted in Apple, So Stupid It Hurts, Virtual Reality. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tim Cook Chooses AR Over VR. Steve Jobs Wouldn’t Have.

  1. Fred Duck says:

    Like you, I don’t find AR very interesting but I have to disagree with your views on VR. You have no interest in games, and I can’t blame you…so much time and money is spent on graphics nowadays that gameplay, story, and everything else end up being afterthoughts and yet graphics aren’t up to the point that the non-game playing public is impressed.

    However, VR means “virtual reality.” If you’re not allowed to walk around and have others acknowledge your presence at all, then that’s just 360º video, which isn’t a reality, unless you’re a ghost, which would be unusual.

    360º video is really hit-or-miss in my experience, with the vast majority falling in miss territory. Movies tell focused stories and cameras are placed in particular locations at calculated angles to achieve specific results. If the viewer is allowed to pivot at will, then there’s a very good chance they’ll miss whatever it is the main story wants them to see. Even if there’s a way to loop non-essential footage and make key scenes only play when the viewer is actually able to see them, I still don’t see how this improves on regular films.

    So, unfortunately, I don’t think VR is actually a good fit for Hollywood. (It’s also not a good fit for most current types of games, but people still insist on making VR mods for existing games.)

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