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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Economic Summit during the China Development Forum in Beijing today / Chinatopix via AP

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said for a while now that he finds augmented reality a big deal and a whole lot more interesting than pure virtual reality. However, Apple has been characteristically mum on just what its plans are for overlaying digital objects onto the real world.

Writing for Bloomberg, intrepid Apple scribe Mark Gurman has dug up a number of details on Apple's work in the space, including some big hires, key deals and product plans. Here are the highlights:

  • Apple is working on its own augmented reality glasses but those should take some time, with the first fruits of the AR push likely to show up on the iPhone itself.
  • The AR effort is being run by former Dolby hardware chief Mike Rockwell, who previously advised Meta, which makes its own augmented reality glasses. Other hires have come from Amazon, Google and Meta.
  • Apple has made acquisitions too. It bought AR software firm Metaio in 2015 and AR camera software firm FlyBy Media last year. It's AR effort will also draw heavily on the company's 2013 acquisitiion of Israeli depth-sensing camera maker Primesense.
  • Hundreds of people are working on AR at Apple, if you include the people doing the underlying iPhone camera work.

Why it matters: AR is seen as a giant new frontier for computing, potentially becoming a to $165 billion market by 2024, according to Global Market Insights. With the smartphone market maturing, Apple needs a big new market to dominate in order to keep growing.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.