Apple CEO Tim Cook says iPhone AR update is 'a profound day'

  • The upgraded operating system, iOS 11, will be available for download later Tuesday.
  • It includes AR technology for in-app augmented reality capabilities.
  • Cook said the company is taking AR "to mainstream."

Apple users prompted to upgrade their iPhone operating system Tuesday may not think much of the incremental improvements of iOS 11.

But CEO Tim Cook is eagerly awaiting the release.

"This is a day to remember," Cook told ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday. "This is a profound day."

The iOS update includes AR, or augmented reality, capabilities, offering the technology to Apple users with an iPhone 6S or later.

Augmented reality technology blends the real world with the virtual by overlaying images and details onto a feed from a device's camera. AR became widely popular with the Pokemon Go app last year that allowed players to "catch" virtual Pokemon scattered across real-life locales.

"Later today hundreds of millions of customers will be able to use AR for the first time, so we're bringing it to mainstream," Cook said. "We're taking the complex and making it simple ... we want everybody to be able to use AR."

The update will also include a revamped App Store, tools to combat distracted driving and higher camera quality.

Apple has been hyping the more all-encompassing iPhone AR capability for a while. It is promoting specific partnerships, such as an IKEA app that allows users to virtually place furniture from the Swedish maker in the room around them and a Major League Baseball app that hovers information and stats above players on the field in real time.

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