Tim Cook, Jony Ive and the AR goggles
“Those dry witty people on twitter. Who type all in lower case…” Jony Ive says, staring at twitter but talking to Tim Cook, “You think they turn off caps as they go, or do you think they write the tweet and then go back and change each upper case to lower case manually?”
“Jony, let’s go for a walk.” Tim Cook says, bending down and tying up the laces of his Nike Roshe Two’s, “I’d like to demo you an Apple Glasses prototype.”
Tim slings a crude looking SCUBA mask wired up to a battery pack into an Apple Park tote bag.
Jony reaches into the pockets of his white French linen chinos for the keys to his Bentley.
“No…” Tim stops Jony’s hand, “a walk…”
The two men walk side by side through the streets of San José.
“Jony, tell me about London.” Tim says, looking ahead but slightly upwards.
“London…” Jony replies, “Imagine a holiday. Where every day it rains and is bitterly cold. And every day you have to work for 14 hours. And imagine this holiday lasts for 65 years. That is London.”
“And tell me about the homeless there.”
“There are homeless people in London?”
“Of course. Well, you would find a homeless man or woman sitting on most streets in London. I hear now things are getting worse... Tim are we gonna demo the goggles or what?”
Tim stops walking and shakes his head at no one.
“It’s different here isn’t it. In the US.” Tim says more as a statement than question, “Look down there…”
Jony looks down a side street where 20 to 30 homeless are living. Some are drinking. Some with shopping trolleys. Some talking. Some shouting. Smoking.
“Look at them.” Tim continues, “Communities of them… This wealth divide. The bigger Apple becomes, the bigger the homeless population become. We’re intrinsically linked to one another.”
“What are you thinking, Tim? Low cost housing? Apple housing. Shame we’ve already used the name HomePod…”
Tim roots around in the Apple Park tote bag and pulls out the SCUBA goggles, “Put these on.”
Jony pulls the elastic strap over the back of his head and lets the goggles press against his face.
“People want to know why I’m so confident about AR. Why I’ve launched it before we even have hardware.” Tim holds the battery pack in his hand that’s wired to Jony’s goggles.
“Look at them Jony. These poor souls we’ve left behind. These humans chastised. We dehumanise them. We choose to ignore them. People don’t want to see them. You know what people want? They want the Matrix.”
Tim flips the switch on the battery.
“So let’s give them it.”
Jony stares. The AR overlay flickers on, there’s a chime and the apple logo appears. And then… nothing.
“Where are they?” Jony asks.
“They’re gone, Jony. Digitally erased.”
“Problem. Solution.” Tim beams.
“Tim this is...” Jony pulls the goggles from his face which have left a big red impression around his eyes. The homeless people are back. He raises the goggles up to his eyes and they’re gone again.
“It’s incredible isn’t it. I think our customers are going to love it.”
“Tim… it’s abhorent.”
Tim’s smile fades.
“Tim, it’s morally reprehensible. We can’t do this. It’s disgusting.”
“Ok, ok!” Tim interupts. He flicks another switch on the battery pack. “How about now?”
The homeless reappear.
But now they’re dressed in United Colours of Benetton and SuperDry. The filthy torn jeans are now purposefully distressed and pre-ripped Japanese selvedge denim. The cigarettes are now Vaporisers. The cans of high percentage cider are iPhone Xs. The shopping trollies are electric scooters. Their blackened bare feet are now open toe Nike sandals. And those shoes by that new silicon valley start-up that are acting like they literally invented the shoe. Allbirds. And that other one. Atoms.
Jony tilts his head and nods, “Our customers are going to love it.”