Facebook caught the eye this week with the first smart glasses. Are there any lessons here for Apple, which is believed to be working on its own smart glasses?
On the road to augmented reality, Facebook attracted attention this week with the arrival of the first smart glasses. As Apple moves toward introducing its own magnified glasses, are there lessons here on what these things do and how they should work?
What do Facebook glasses do?
First, let’s take a look at Facebook’s smart glasses. They offer several cameras for taking photos and videos, have a microphone and speaker, and are controlled by a voice assistant.
Most observers describe these things as similar to Snapchat glasses. Facebook called them Stories, so now you know what the Facebook Story feature is that most of us never use. The glasses are made of Ray-Ban and look like Wayfarers. It costs $ 299 and Facebook says it wants to «create a sense of social presence.»
There are no augmented reality glasses. Instead, they will allow you to film everything that is happening around you, probably so that Facebook can analyze your habits and cheer you up with advertising, which seems to be the basic business plan of the social media company.
The glasses look great, the touch controls look great, but all you really get is moving music, a voice assistant that also accepts calls and the ability to take photos / videos on demand. At best, these are accessories and designed to work with an app on a smartphone. These smart glasses look a little bad.
What can Apple learn from all this? Here are some suggestions.
I doubt Apple glasses cost $ 299. They will network with an iPhone to offer a wide range of state-of-the-art tools and will be supported by a suite of application development tools designed to support what we already know are the key markets for RA: location-based games such as Pokémon; commercial and medical use; and on-the-go access to information and outpatient entertainment. I came across recent claims that first-generation Apple glasses are not compatible with AR. I suspect that an objective information system is still plausible.
The Facebook offer is just a data capture device with a voice assistant. Apple will offer more and will probably charge even more.
If you wear Facebook glasses, don’t be surprised to be asked to drop them off at the box office when attending a live show, attending a meeting, visiting the court, or even walking through some malls. As the news spreads, their behavior at social gatherings will become a social wrong step. People don’t trust Facebook when it comes to privacy.
What Apple is learning: We know that Apple accepts privacy (or habit). When choosing to wear your own glasses, you’ll need to create location-based technologies by integrating with Maps to allow destinations to prevent filming.
It also seems likely that an activity light will be displayed during filming / recording. Privacy lawyers will ask for the latter, while some locations will require the former.
There doesn’t seem to be a development environment around Facebook goggles yet. That will limit what I can do. Apple knows that in order to create engaging experiences for a wide audience, it must enable an ecosystem of developers. This is the approach he takes in all of his products except accessories.
Apple’s approach to glasses is likely to evolve around augmented reality experiences and access to information, such as mall guides, tour guides, or even overlapping to guide medical procedures. (Medical and some industrial implementations have probably become the key success stories around Google Glass.)
Apple’s work on Arcade means that it also has the potential to create its own interactive gaming experiences to support the products it ultimately delivers. Also, why not sit back and watch Apple Music or TV + videos on your glasses when you travel?
In the end, Facebook’s strategy seems unprepared. Only now are you investing in processing technologies to support your efforts. It has Oculus technologies, but they seem to be on a different approach, focused on pure AR experiences. The integration of smartphones seems quite limited, Facebook has failed to build a solid reputation for privacy and does not seem (yet) to have built much in the way of a supportive development environment. To be fair, beyond Oculus, Facebook has several assets that it could use; I have no doubt that you are already iterating more sophisticated glasses in your labs.
Meanwhile, Apple already seems to be working on how to develop health sensors for its portable future. It is fair to note that most speculation on the market today sees Apple introducing a first iteration of glasses with fewer features next year, before a more sophisticated solution is launched in a few years.
What do you remember
The new Facebook offer is reminiscent of Samsung’s initial move to speed up the introduction of its own smart watch before Apple virtually defined the category with the Apple Watch. Samsung gained a lot of support for its move at the time, but Apple let it slip when it did the same.
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch still has its defenders (especially since some models are round, which many people prefer), but while the Apple Watch has about 28% of the market, Samsung has only 7.6%, according to Counterpoint.
It is an open question to what extent Facebook will be able to capitalize on its contaminated brand to gain market share in the emerging smart glasses market, as Apple and others bring to market the products they have developed next year.
It seems unlikely that Facebook’s momentum will make a dent in the universe, but it certainly shows growing competition between the two companies as the fight for multiverses intensifies.