the technological sea change brought about by the smartphone: “It will happen in a big way, and we will wonder when it does, how we ever lived without it. Like we wonder how we lived without our phone today.” Other hints include Apple reportedly hiring the chief engineer of a firm that’s actively building AR glasses, as well as the company’s acquisition of a number of smaller AR-related enterprises. And, if you needed any more concrete evidence that Apple’s bullish on AR, well, look no further than Tim Cook’s rimless frames. Stylish fashion choice or the perfect look for concealing prototype AR glasses? You decide.
The car hole Looking at Apple’s rumoured pipeline, it’s also not hard to see why the company would suddenly be more bullish on developing augmented reality gear. Signs had pointed to Apple’s heavy investment in the automobile space this year, up until a month or two ago when reports began to suggest that project was in the midst of a sharp change in direction that might refocus on building software for cars, including an autonomous driving system, rather than manufacturing an entire vehicle. Unlike the car space, which is full of longentrenched firms, heavy regulation, and a number of fields in which Apple would have to build expertise from scratch, AR is a logical offshoot of the work the company’s already doing. The upside might be lower, for sure – AR glasses are far less broadly applicable than cars – but Apple hasn’t shied away from smaller markets where it thinks it JANUARY 2017 • MACWORLD 113 MWJAN17.indd 113