During the latest annual Meta Connect conference, Meta focused on three major products: its Meta Quest 3 VR headset, a suite of new AI features led by the Meta AI conversational assistant, and 2nd-Gen smart glasses from Ray-Ban.
Given the company’s vision for the ‘metaverse,’ there’s a naturally higher level of attention being given to the Meta Quest 3 compared to some of Meta’s other products and services.
But if you ask Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Meta’s chief technology officer (pictured above), more eyes should also be on the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses. During a media roundtable attended by MobileSyrup at Meta Connect 2023, Bosworth was asked what he thinks is the highlight of Connect.
While Bosworth was naturally quick to praise all three product areas that were featured, he gave a special shoutout to the Ray-Ban glasses. The smart glasses allow you to capture photos and videos (now with 12-megapixels cameras vs. the last-gen pair’s 5-megapixel shooters), livestream directly to Instagram and Facebook, listen to music, have conversations with the new Meta AI and more.
“The smart glasses are the piece of news that I think is probably the most likely to go underrespected,” he said. “I think they’re a meaningful improvement over the previous generation. I think people are quick to make comparisons to things that come before, but I don’t think it’s really a fair comparison — [there hasn’t been] anything that looked as good and worked as well.”
Later, Bosworth elaborated on what he likes about the second-gen eyewear, particularly with respect to the AI integration.
“When you’re thinking of AI models, one of the things that are actually kind of annoying, for me, is I get my phone out and I type in the prompt, and I wait for the response. And it’s really not what I want to do — I really want to be able to ask the question. And so we’re doing that.” He added, “I do think it’s quite a better way to answer the types of questions that AI today is pretty good at answering.”
— Ray-Ban (@ray_ban) September 27, 2023
As an example of that, this year’s Meta Connect featured a video of F1 driver Charles Leclerc using the new smart glasses as he went about his day, capturing his moment-to-moment driving, exercise and exploring foreign countries. More practical everyday uses, though, include recording yourself making a good shot in mini-golf or someone blowing out candles on a birthday cake.
Bosworth said the smart glasses platform as a whole will also play a key role in Meta’s vision for the metaverse. To start, when asked why we didn’t hear about the metaverse, specifically, at Connect, Bosworth noted that it was meant to be a “very long-term vision that kind of matures unevenly” in various aspects.
“The metaverse vision is one that [CEO] Mark [Zuckberg] has created an intention around that is a clear and distant vision for us. It’s one you can certainly see parts of taking shape — Horizon and Avatars, which we didn’t cover much [at Connect],” said Bosworth. “But if you have been paying attention, Horizon is going nuts. People are loving [the online game] Horizon Worlds, [first-person shooter] Super Rumble, [co-op action-adventure game] Citadel is phenomenally popular. The Avatars are making tremendous progress — they’re hugely popular on WhatsApp, on Instagram, on Messenger, and on Facebook. VR adoption steadily continues. And so there are a lot of pieces that are really making progress.”
He said that will culminate in augmented reality-powered smart glasses. “Ultimately, augmented reality glasses, where you have Mark’s vision of Codec Avatars [3D human faces] and artificial intelligence co-present in the room with all of us wearing smart glasses […] I think we still really believe in it.”
The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses launch in Canada on October 10th, starting at $369. Pre-orders are available on Meta’s website, and you can also read our full hands-on impressions here.