Mark Zuckerberg announced Meta’s latest smart glasses at Connect 2023, causing quite a stir on social media.
The newest generation of Meta Ray-Bans demonstrates a great leap forward from the 2021 model, improving the specifications in almost every regard. Despite this, the acclaim has not been universal.
Meta’s Ray-Ban glasses
Mark Zuckerberg introduced a number of key products from the stage of Connect 2023 on Sept. 27, including Meta Quest 3, but Meta’s latest Ray-Ban glasses stole the show.
Zuckerberg described them as “the next generation of Ray-Ban meta smart glasses,” designed “so you can stay in the moment and stay connected without having to take your phone out.”
According to Zuckerberg, the new glasses improve on their previous effort in almost every way, with better cameras for better image and video capture and improved audio abilities too. The feature that ‘the Zuck’ was most keen to impress upon the audience was the integration of Meta-AI, making this version of the Ray-Bans something more akin to a wearable personal assistant than regular glasses.
“These are the first smart glasses that are built-in shipping with Meta AI in them,” said Zuckerberg.
Suggested use cases for the specs included cooking advice and translation services, with Meta AI providing useful information in-display.
A generally positive reaction
Meta’s AI glasses met with a positive reaction on the X social media platform, racking up millions of views within a few hours of Zuck’s presentation.
One commentator said this was Meta’s “Apple iPhone launching moment,” although others were on hand to pour cold water on that assessment.
The New York Post suggested that Meta’s new glasses might be the first smart wearables that don’t make their wearer look like a jerk.
The product has already demonstrated an ability to cut through customers’ generally unfavorable views of the Meta brand.
“Finally, Meta has launched something interesting,” said one Meta skeptic on X.
Others voiced concerns about the AI-wearables, questioning their battery life and their potential durability in adverse weather conditions such as rain. Meta says the battery life will be up to 36 hours (with the use of a charging case).
Privacy was another topic of concern, with some commentators calling the Ray-Bans “spy glasses,” in reference to Meta’s history of data collection.
On Instagram, a paid partnership with Charles Leclerc reaped benefits for Meta as the F1 driver demonstrated the livestream capabilities of the specs from the racing track. Leclerc’s fans readily lapped up what they saw—if positive sentiment turns into sales, Meta may finally have a winner in their hands.
Then and now
The specifications for the new Meta specs show a demonstrable improvement on what the firm offered in 2021.
The original Ray-Ban Stories offered photos at 5 megapixels with videos at a 1,184 x 1,184 resolution and a frame rate of 30 fps. The glasses further had storage of just 4GB.
In contrast, the new Ray-Bans manage 12-megapixel photos and have 32 GB of storage. Videos are now 1080 x 1080 with 60 fps.
The Meta press release says the glasses are available in over 150 custom frame and lens combinations. Meta Ray-Bans are available starting Oct. 17, retailing for $299.