Apple CEO Tim Cook explains why people want a mixed reality headset

Apple CEO Tim Cook poses for a portrait next to a row of new MacBook Airs as he enters the Steve Jobs Theater during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at the Apple Park campus on June 6, 2022 in Cupertino, California.

Chris Tuite | AFP | Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook explained in a recent interview with GQ why people might want the kind of mixed reality headset his company is likely to announce in the coming months.

The notoriously secretive company has been silent on the matter, and Cook has neither confirmed nor denied the headset’s existence, but Cook has framed his thoughts on arguably the biggest question mark: Why would anyone buy it?

In short: arts, communications, “creative” applications and corporate environments, Cook told GQ.

“The idea of ​​overlaying the physical world with things from the digital world could greatly improve how people communicate and how people connect,” Cook told GQ.

VR as a tool, especially for communication, is not a new concept. When Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared his vision for the Metaverse in 2021, transforming the way people communicate was one of the first things Zuckerberg talked about. Meta is struggling to find success with its virtual reality business called Reality Labs.

But Meta’s struggles don’t seem to have dampened Cook’s burgeoning enthusiasm. GQ polled Cook on comments from 2015 criticizing Google’s attempt at a VR game.

Cook confirmed his about-face, saying that if “something new is presented that says you were wrong, instead of continuing to crouch and say why you’re right, admit it and move on.”

In his opinion, it’s the creative users, who have long been at the heart of Apple’s business model, who will benefit the most from virtual reality products. The CEO said the augmented reality technology could project an artwork onto a glass screen, which would be useful for creative or educational purposes.

“It’s the idea that there’s this environment that could be even better than just the real world — putting the virtual world on top of it could be an even better world,” Cook told GQ. “If it could accelerate creativity, if only it could help you do things that you do all day and you haven’t really thought about doing them any other way.”

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that given a sluggish economic environment, Apple is increasingly concerned about how a headset would be received. On the other hand, Bloomberg reported that the company expects to sell around a million units in the product’s first year.

Read more from GQ.