Horace Dediu thinking out aloud about the Apple Glasses
Horace Dediu speculating about how the Apple Glasses might come to be:
If you were to look at glasses: What if Apple glasses look like a regular pair of glasses? What if it have absolutely no technological appearance?
So the question on the glasses (or anything worn on the faces), that’s a very delicate thing. The watch when it was introduced it didn’t look that different from any watch. And so what the logic I think for wearables for Apple has been is, “Let’s not ask people to accept a behavior or appearance or a burden in terms of the weight or anything else that they’re not already accepting.”
And we go back to this, if you want to know where wearables are going, look at where jewelry has gone. That’s been my thesis about wearables.
We find it acceptable to hang in our bodies a lot of metal, a lot of rocks &mdash which could be substituted with silicon and plastic, and maybe some other metals.
The area around the ears, the neck, the eyes and potentially the top of the head &mdash where a hat would reside &mdash these have been conquered. [We have] over-the-ear and in-ear headphones but [nothing] yet on the face.
And this is one of the things that with Apple Silicon they might actually be able to deliver on such a small headset that it actually would be indistinguishable from a normal pair of sunglasses.
Actually, what I think they would go for in a glasses model would be the degree of customization. Everybody has a different style of glasses. I’ve gone into these places in the past and gone through everything available. And I was like, I didn’t like any of them. You know, they did not fit me. How do you make a pair of glasses or how do you make a lenses-based system which have to conform to so many face shapes and styles?
I would think it would be along the lines of a custom order based on a 3D face scan. The idea is that they use your phone to scan your face, that gets you a 3D map of the head. You use that scan to have effectively a 3D render of your head and the glasses. Then you say, OK, I accept and I buy. And then they send it to you in the mail, and you get perfectly fitting glasses. This would take into account obviously the face shape, but also your nose and your ears and all the other touch points.
The logic then would be that the customization is key to a face device, not only in terms of size, but in terms of style. If that’s the case, then how do you create compute and sensor hardware as the embedded piece into this otherwise physical object that has so many shapes that it can be? That would be the breakthrough that I think they would seek in a wearable for the face.
- First of all, do not force people to adopt new behaviors
- Secondly, do not force people to adopt new aesthetics
- A third would be that it would be completely shaped by the user, as opposed to here’s the choices you have
- And then make a useful product. Make it so that it does make a quantum leap in usability
The advantage of making a proper set of glasses (not sunglasses) is that the general population that does have corrective lenses (whether these contacts or not) is higher than 50%. If that’s the case, then the market is huge. Possibly even bigger than the watch market, and yet it’s more difficult. Because everyone is very particular about what they choose to wear on their face, as they would be for anything they wear on their bodies as clothing. Not so much wrist-worn or even ear-worn, but face is a very special place.
We started this discussion about silicon. The fact is that it might be that the key to embedding that technology into a very customizable outer appearance is possible through only this particular breakthrough in their ability to integrate. In which case, that becomes the next category. If they’re able to crack that nut, it becomes the next category. Implications thereafter are profound, because again you are dealing with a new user experience.
The watch was a potential new category for computing as well. It turns out that its glanceable nature, despite the fact that you might glance at it 100-200 times a day, is not a sufficiently immersive experience. It is secondary. It is still a wonderful place to put technology. It does seem to affect your behavior quite a bit as a passive sensor. But the leap we might need to get people to be interacting with computers more might still require a position around the ears and the eyes.