Apple will not make a spectacle of itself to challenge Google Glass
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Thursday 30 May 2013
The Apple faithful looking on with envy as Google parades its hi-tech Glass are more likely to see an iWatch than a pair of iSpecs from the company, Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, has suggested, saying the emerging market for wearable gadgets was "incredibly interesting".
Questioned at a technology conference in California about what he made of Google Glass, which has not yet been released but has already generated headlines around the world, Mr Cook said: "I think the likelihood that it has a broad range appeal – that's tough to see."
While unsurprisingly playing down his rival's chances of success, the Apple boss did endorse the potential of wearable gadgets.
"I think wearables is incredibly interesting. I think it could be a profound area for technology," he told the All Things D conference, an annual gathering organised by the technology website which attracts hordes of Silicon Valley bigwigs, as it opened this week.
Pushed during the question and answer session about what form Apple's wearable product – if one were to be produced – might take, Mr Cook said: "I wear glasses because I have to; I can't see without them… I don't know a lot of people that wear them that don't have to.
"I think from a mainstream point of view this [a product modelled on spectacles] is difficult to see."
What then? "I think the wrist is interesting," he said, holding up his arm to show a Nike Fuel+Band, which tracks a user's daily activity. "It's somewhat natural."
He did caution, however, that any product that targets the wrist would have to meet a very high standard in terms of what it can do to convince customers who have forsaken their wristwatch for their phone.
"I think for something to work [on a wrist] you first have to convince people it's so incredible that they want to wear it," he said, adding: "If we have a room full of 10 to 20-year-olds and we said, everybody stand up that has a watch on… I'm not sure anybody would stand up."
His comments come after months of speculation about the possibility of Apple moving in the direction of producing a smartwatch.
Meanwhile, as Wall Street – and customers – wait to see what Apple does next, Mr Cook also touched on the possibility of the company increasing its involvement in the TV market. It currently makes a box that allows users to access content from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and other services on their TV.
Many, however, have been speculating about the possibility of an Apple smart TV, along the lines of the range currently produced by manufacturers such as Samsung.
Once again, Mr Cook would not be drawn on any details. But, talking about Apple TV and what the company might do in the area, he said: "It continues to be an area of great interest to us.
"When you look at the TV experience, it's not an experience that I think very many people love. It's not an experience you would say has been brought up to date for this decade."
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