Apple Eyes Israel as Key to Its Next Major Innovation

The tech giant Apple sees Israel as the ideal place to develop its next major innovation: Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook called AR a “big idea” that could be available to everyone, industry newsletter Apple Insider reported Tuesday. Steven Milunovich, an analyst at the investment firm UBS, cited these comments in a letter to investors, in which he stressed the potential of AR technology.

AR allows users to see the environment around them, but with additional information superimposed on the landscape. This contrasts with virtual reality, which blocks the view of the user’s surroundings.

“Thanks to advanced cameras, consumers will hold their phones up with images superimposed onto the screen in cars, rooms, or walking down the street,” Milunovich explained. “3D mapping through Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) will be key.”

According to industry sources cited by Milunovich, Apple may have over 1,000 engineers working on AR in Israel.

The advanced camera technology that came with Apple’s 2013 acquisition of the Israeli startup PrimeSense is expected to be a component of the company’s AR push.

Apple has acquired four Israeli companies in recent years, most recently RealFace Technology last month.

Two years ago, Cook visited Israel to open an Apple development center in Herzliya.

[Photo: B’nai B’rith / YouTube ]