We talk to Apple’s Tim Cook about ‘aha’ moment with new Vision Pro

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook certainly isn’t putting his feet up after the latest launch of new devices. Days after introducing the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro on-stage at the spaceship-like headquarters in California, the CEO of the world’s most valuable company has thrown himself into a whistle-stop tour around the UK and mainland Europe – even meeting British royalty at Windsor Castle.

Luckily for Express.co.uk, Cook also took time out of his packed schedule to sit down with us to talk about the UK’s thriving app scene, the powerhouse new processor inside the iPhone 15 Pro, his “aha moment” with the new Vision Pro headset and concerns around AI. We chatted to the CEO at Apple’s stunning new UK headquarters, located inside the redeveloped Battersea Power Station in central London and he’s certainly excited about the future – especially when it comes to the Vision Pro.

“I can’t wait to get it out there,” Cook tells us. “There are huge differences in how people look at it, depending on if they’ve read about it or actually tried it. I believe even more about how profound spatial computing is. When you’ve tried it, it’s an aha moment, and you only have a few of those in a lifetime.”

When you’ve tried it, it’s an aha moment, and you only have a few of those in a lifetime

He should know, the Apple boss says he’s using it every day and has become a big part of his routine.

This mixed-reality headset can switch between immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences, placing you inside a cinema with a gargantuan cinema screen to yourself for your favourite Apple TV+ series like Ted Lasso, and Augmented Reality (AR), where windowed applications like Safari and Pages float in front of your eyes – allowing you to create a multiple monitor set-up wherever you are.

Vision Pro is also an exciting development for app creators, some of whom Cook met during his visit to the iconic Battersea Power Station.

“I think the apps today are outstanding,” he says. “It’s a reminder of the empowerment of the App Store. I’m still amazed that an entrepreneur in any country in the world in a basement can start a company and it can be global. I mean, this is something that didn’t exist before App Store.”

Three developers were invited to Apple’s HQ to meet Cook with each relying on Apple’s latest software and hardware technologies to build new experiences for users. It’s impressive to see how much time the technology boss spends with each of them and how intently he listens to their stories.

Fitness app Gym Streak, built single-handedly by Joseph Mambwe, uses Augmented Reality (AR) to show users how to exercise correctly in their own living rooms via animated 3D figures.

Meanwhile, Night Sky – created by Andy Weekes – has that same AR function to overlay stars, planets and the Space Station on the screen in real time. It even sends data to the Apple Watch so users can stargaze from a device on their wrist.

All of the developers use their meeting with Cook to say how appreciative they are of the support that Apple provides – something the CEO is clearly proud of.

“You know, our whole company is based on collaboration,” explains Cook. “We really believe that one plus one equals three. We believe that not only internally with our own selves, but we believe that with our ecosystem and the developers as well. And so the fact that you can help empower someone to start a business on their own, create an app on their own, this is huge for us. I mean, it gives us great joy.”

The UK has the largest developer community in Europe with this thriving iOS economy now supporting over half a million jobs — that’s up nearly 70 percent since 2019.

Once again, the UK is leading the charge when it comes to the Vision Pro with Cook telling us he was thrilled to be seeing British software being created for the headset during his visit.

“We have developer labs in London and Munich, and we’re seeing some incredible work. There’s so much excitement out there,” Cook said with a look of delight on his face.

Another thing that gets Cook animated during our time with him is the launch of the new iPhone 15 Pro devices, which now feature the A17 Pro processor. This chip is so powerful it’s able to provide console-style gaming on a device in your pocket, with PS5 and Xbox Series X titles like Resident Evil 4 Remake coming to the iPhone – a first for any smartphone.

“There’s significant excitement about our role in gaming, we’re very serious about it,” explains Cook.

“This is not a hobby for us, it’s something we’re putting all of ourselves out there on. iOS is the best gaming platform that’s out there, and we want to keep it the best and just keep taking it to the next level. Our silicon road map really is in a camp by itself.”

Our conversation swiftly moves on to another hot topic, AI.

Artificial Intelligence is a buzzword right now but Cook is clearly aware of how people perceive this technology and the worries associated with it.

“We’ve been working on generative AI for years. And have done a lot of research. And we’re going to approach it really thoughtfully and think about it deeply because we’re fully aware of the not good uses that it can have and the issues around bias and hallucination and so forth.”

We’ve never felt an urgency to be first. We’ve always felt an urgency to be best and that is how we go into this as well.

Apple already uses AI for features such as Fall Detection, Crash Detection and even checking for health conditions such as Atrial Fibrillation. However, the US technology giant isn’t rushing to release rivals to the likes of ChatGPT.

“We’ve never felt an urgency to be first. We’ve always felt an urgency to be best and that is how we go into this as well.”

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