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Why Apple is pouring money into virtual and augmented reality

Whether or not the iPhone as we know it has a long-term future, Apple thinks that virtual and augmented reality does, and recent investing patterns at the company show how interested CEO Tim Cook is in the emerging technologies, said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in a report issued Tuesday.

Cook has made it clear that his interest in augmented reality is high, which Munster wrote should ease some investor concerns that Apple is moving too slow to develop new technology.

"We are high on AR for the long run, we think there's great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity," Cook said on last month's earnings call.

Still, since there's no widely adopted platform to power augmented reality experiences — at least not yet — smartphones are likely to continue to have a role, wrote...