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Facebook smart glasses and some lessons for Apple

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On the road to AR, Facebook snagged some attention this week with the arrival of its first smart glasses. As Apple inches toward the introduction of its own augmented spectacles, are there lessons here about what these things do and how they should work?

What Facebook’s glasses do

First, let’s take a glance at Facebook’s smart glasses. They offer a pair of cameras to take photos and videos, boast a microphone and a speaker, and are controlled using a voice assistant.

Most observers describe these things as similar to Snapchat spectacles. Facebook has called them Stories, so now you know what the Story feature in Facebook most of us never use is for. The glasses are manufactured with Ray-Ban and look like Wayfarers. They cost $299 and Facebook says it wants them to “create a sense of social presence.”

They aren’t AR glasses. Instead, they will let you film everything that happens around you, presumably so Facebook can analyze your habits and pump you up with advertising, which appears to be the social media company’s basic business plan.

The glasses look cool, the touch controls seem cool, but all you’re getting really is music on the move, a voice assistant that also takes calls, and the chance to take photos/videos on demand. These are accessories at best and are designed to work with an app on a smartphone. These smart glasses seem a little dumb.

What can Apple learn from all this? Here’s a few suggestions.

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