Meta might demo a pair of ‘true’ AR smart glasses later in 2024

It’s been long rumored that Meta is working on a pair of augmented reality smart glasses — and it’s possible we could finally get a glimpse of them later this year.

Citing unnamed Meta sources, a Business Insider report claims that the company plans to demo a pair of true AR smart glasses later this fall at Meta Connect. The glasses, dubbed internally as “Orion,” are a separate product from the recently launched Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses and its Meta Quest headsets. The former product, while featuring some beta multimodal audio AI features and a camera, doesn’t have any visual AR elements. Meanwhile, Meta Quest headsets are primarily used for VR gaming and a handful of mixed reality experiences. Ostensibly, what makes these Orion glasses “true” AR devices is the fact that they’re supposed to be more technologically advanced with a visual element — we don’t know much else yet. The report suggests that there’s a lot of internal pressure at Meta to have a high-quality demo and that some company insiders have been experimenting with advanced prototypes.

That said, it doesn’t seem like the Orion glasses are ready for prime time just yet. Business Insider says that even if the glasses are demoed at Meta Connect, they won’t be available for the public. The Verge’s Alex Heath reported last year that 2024 was when the company plans for an “internal” launch of the glasses, with a public release slated for 2027. Before then, it’s more likely that we’ll see a third generation of Ray-Ban smart glasses in 2025 that come with a “neural interface band” as an input device.

Any demo would likely be a means of whetting the public’s appetite for what’s to come. I’ve written this before, but it’s not just the technology that needs to evolve before we’re all wandering around with smart glasses on our faces. Cultural norms also need to adapt — which is why you’re seeing companies like Meta and Apple come out with more niche mixed reality products now. One reason the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses appear to be doing well is the fact that they’re in a familiar form factor and fill certain niches, like content creation, surprisingly well.

Should Meta whip out a neat demo of an impressive, working pair of true AR smart glasses this year? It’d be a savvy move toward convincing the average Joe an AR future is one worth living in.

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