“In an unmarked building on a quiet side street just off the beach in Venice, California, 26-year-old Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel stands in a small conference room. He’s draped a towel over a mysterious object sitting on a table. He is eager to the point of jitters,” Seth Stevenson reports for The Wall Street Journal. “‘You wanna see it?’ he asks, grinning widely. There’s drama in this reveal: I’m about to join an exceedingly small circle of people whom Spiegel has shown the object to. As he lifts the towel, he breaks into a delighted laugh. ‘Boom!'”

“What initially appears to be a normal pair of sunglasses turns out to be Spectacles, the first hardware product from Snap Inc., as the firm has been newly christened (Spiegel is refreshing the company name because its offerings now go beyond the Snapchat app),” Stevenson reports. “When you slip Spectacles on and tap a button near the hinge, it records up to 10 seconds of video from your first-person vantage. Each new tap records another clip.”

“He remembers testing a prototype in early 2015 while hiking with his fiancée, supermodel Miranda Kerr,” Stevenson reports. “‘It was our first vacation, and we went to Big Sur for a day or two. We were walking through the woods, stepping over logs, looking up at the beautiful trees. And when I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes—it was unbelievable. It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience. It was the closest I’d ever come to feeling like I was there again.'”

Snap's new Spectacles video eyewear

Snap’s new Spectacles video eyewear

“For the moment, Spectacles appears to be a bit of a lark. At a price of $129.99 and with limited distribution, it won’t be relied upon for significant immediate revenue,” Stevenson reports. “Spiegel refers to it as a toy, to be worn for kicks at a barbecue or an outdoor concert — Spectacles video syncs wirelessly to a smartphone, making it easily shareable. ‘We’re going to take a slow approach to rolling them out,’ says Spiegel. ‘It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.’ This looseness, this sense of confident experimentation, seems to encapsulate one aspect of Snapchat’s startling success.”

Why make this product, with its attendant risks, and why now? “Because it’s fun,” he says with another laugh.

Read more in the full article here.

a glasshole

A Glasshole

MacDailyNews Take: Spiegel refers to Spectacles as a “toy” because he’s smart. His “looseness” regarding the device is perfectly calculated. This is the way to ease such a product into mainstream use. “It’s fun!” “It’s just an innocuous plaything!” This is the polar opposite of the way Google stupidly marketed Google Glass. Hint: This item has huge potential to freak people out, so call it a “toy,” because toys are harmless fun for kids.

It reminds us of Steve Jobs referring to Apple TV as a “hobby.” We always felt he was trying to move units into homes without freaking out the content gatekeepers. “It’s just a hobby. Nothing to worry about here!” (It didn’t work; they were freaked out anyway, but Steve was smart to try it that way).

So, Spectacles are “spy glasses,” just like Google Glass, but they’re being positioned as a “toy.” Watch how much better that succeeds than Google’s foray into spywear.

Google Glass chief leaves position – June 5, 2015
Tim Bajarin: Apple Watch vs. the Google Glass debacle – May 12, 2015
Unsold Google Glass units to be donated to assholes in Africa – January 20, 2015
Google Glass is no more, if it ever was – January 15, 2015