Snapchat introduces ‘Spectacles’ eyewear that record video

“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


  1. At least they are a lot more stylish than the Google Glass. But we also need to be wary of this new tech though. Snapchat’s MO is very different compared to Google’s, but I’m not sure if I’d still like to be around people who use this stuff.

      1. I said the same thing about another smart glass that MDN mentioned 2 years ago. 2014 to be exact. All I got was a bunch of mindless heat over my comments. They knew that the Icis LaForge smart glass would be the same exact thing, “but sexier”. I love this site and its commenters, but that’s not cool, and neither are these glasses. Do you get what I’m sayin’? Get woke.

        1. Sorry to have to bring it to your attention but much of what you have to say is not because of the subject matter or the points you bring up but I think that it has much to say about your attitude and choice of language. Your recent posts are much better and if you keep up the higher level that you are now exhibiting, you will gain the acceptance you deserve.

        2. MDN space is a churning, formless internet bazaar, a political disco, a place where the homeless come to play chess like they do in Central Park without knowing who the hell their opponents are. — Sometimes there is a rude awakening, a comeuppance, and that very thing attracts kibitzers: a rare chance to witness the dislodging of a gargoyle.

      2. I don’t think MDN is calling these people anything different, nor do they think these glasses are any better.

        All I see in MDN’s comment is that they believe Snapchat will be more successful at marketing this because they call it a toy.

        Ultimately, the product seems to have the same purpose, and will therefore be just as bad.

        I am not quite that certain that the people will receive this any differently from Google Glass.

        1. Absolutely I had to read the take again, they simply were stating the truth, ie if you intend to introduce a product of this nature the sensible way to do it is disguising it in a more friendly vibe. It’s hardly condoning the actual point of the product itself however.

  2. It will be better for hiking and outdoor activities. Great for youtubers. Maybe not such a great thing for around the city!

    Would be useful to have for making product review videos.

  3. My perception of glasses that records video is a lot similar to a loaded gun drawn and aimed.

    Walk around the city like that and you are bound to get a response. The difference between GG and Specticals, Google Glass was recognizable as such. Specticals not so much, however the reality is the same.

    We tolerate cell phones having cameras, because it’s more or less, obvious when someone is recording. You can’t record from your pocket or purse.

    Any kind of spy glasses, we have to assume are reccordong all the time. There is a reason we called them spy glasses, from the inception out of thrillers and comic books, because they were made to spy.

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