It Wasn’t Meant for That

Feb 20, 2024
It Wasn’t Meant for That

Very Soon, The Form Factor Of The Brilliant Labs’ Frames And The Apple Vision Pro Will Converge

One of the most hilarious things to witness in high tech right now are videos of people walking around on the streets wearing an Apple Vision Pro headset.

It’s the kind of activity to which most of us would probably say, “I wouldn’t be caught dead doing that…”

And yet, here we are.

It was just too irresistible.


There we have it...

Apple's VisionPro "in the wild"...

Locked In Apple Pro Bro
Locked In Apple Pro Bro

 Nope. That can’t be safe. It doesn’t matter if it’s a red light or not.

Walking across a street focused on controlling the Vision Pro with hand gestures, and even stopping along the way, is a great way to shorten one’s lifespan.

And yet, it’s happening.

After all, the Vision Pro isn’t a virtual reality headset. It’s a “mixed reality” or “augmented reality” device. One of the main features is that it enables the user to see, and interact with, the real world.

Comedy to some. Irresistible to many…

Soon, irresistible to most.

Visually rich graphic overlays on top of our “boring” real world are hard to resist, especially for those who grew up with a smartphone in hand.

And the best part: We don’t have to be hunched over and absorbed in our handheld devices anymore — a far-worse reality.

With this newfound tech, we can live our lives, out in the wild, with a hands-free device that naturally integrates with our environment in real time.

Plus, augmentation is like a dopamine hit, a kind of gamification of something or someone that might just be drab.

I’m sure that many of us remember the fad of playing Pokémon Go. It’s an augmented reality game that is downloaded to a smartphone.

It overlays characters on the real world using a smartphone’s cameras and depth-sensing technology. Consumers can interact with the game’s characters by looking at the real world through the augmented “lens” of the game.

Pokémon Go Multiplayer Mode
Pokémon Go Multiplayer Mode | Source @bradleytreuherz1896

There are quite a few games like it that have become very popular. But to date, they have all required users to hold their phone in front of them and interact with the screen.

Despite the inconvenience of doing so, an app like Pokémon Go has been an incredible hit.  Between 2016 and 2022, the game generated $6 billion in revenue… for just that single augmented reality game.

Which is why a product like the Apple Vision Pro is so powerful.

It is far bigger than a single game now. It’s a platform to build upon.

Vision Pro is a hands-free device that enables augmented reality apps to run for entertainment or productivity. App control is through voice, eye tracking, and hand gestures. It is a 100% hands-free experience.

I wrote about the Apple Vision Pro in Outer Limits — Apple’s First New Product Category in Years in January.

It wasn’t designed for walking through intersections. It was made for the home, office, or sitting safely outdoors. And at a price point of $3,499, it is not exactly a mass market product.

Which is what makes the latest product announcement from Brilliant Labs so exciting.

The Convergence

It’s augmented reality glasses — Frames — are priced at $349 — 10% of Apple’s first generation of the Vision Pro. That puts Frames at the sweet spot for something that could gain mass market adoption.

Brilliant Labs Frames Augmented Reality Glasses

Brilliant Labs Frame AI Glasses
Frames | Source: Brilliant Labs

Where Apple’s headset started at the high end, focused on high-resolution video and graphics and a wide field-of-view, Brilliant Labs’ design approach was driven by the form factor of the eyewear. The team developed something that looks like a normal pair of glasses.

Thanks to shrinking semiconductor technology, the technology to power the augmented reality (AR) lenses using micro LED technology, camera, microphone, and computer processing are all capable of residing in the frame of the glasses.

Brilliant Labs Frame AI Glasses
Frames | Source: Brilliant Labs

The wiring resides through the rims and the temples, and the batteries are cleverly located behind the ears, providing a nice counterbalance to the AR lenses.

Brilliant Labs’ Frames Charging Up

Charging Up Frames | Source: Brilliant Labs

The reality is that within one or two generations of products, the form factor of the Brilliant Labs’ Frames and the Apple Vision Pro will converge.

And for anyone today who believes that their smartphone is indispensable, they’ll soon feel the same way about their AR eyewear.

Smartphones will take a backseat to a jacket pocket, backpack, briefcase, or purse. Our AR glasses will be our primary computing user interface to access all of the applications that we use throughout the day on our smartphone.

And they’ll be able to do far more than just that.


Let’s take facial recognition, for example.

Enabled by the camera on the front of the glasses, they’ll be able to recognize people within our line of sight. We won’t have to worry about forgetting someone’s name anymore.

The AR glasses will display someone’s name in the AR lenses that only we can see…

And they’ll be able to remind us of any relevant details about an individual, like kids’ names, a birthday, or some related task that we needed to follow up on from the last meeting we had with them.

Artificial intelligence-powered capabilities will be built into AR technology in a way that dramatically improves the utility. And not surprisingly, that’s exactly what Brilliant Labs has already done.

Frames is being launched with OpenAI technology that enables visual analysis, as well as uses OpenAI’s Whisper technology for speech recognition and translation.

Brilliant Labs also teamed up with another leader in large language models (LLMs), Perplexity, which gives Frames a ChatGPT-like functionality.

Whether it’s Meta’s Ray Ban smart glasses, Google’s AR glasses that are still in development, Frames, or a future version of the Vision Pro, they’re all going after the next multi-billion unit consumer electronics boom. And it’s happening right now.

It’s a technological shift that will be powered by consumers’ desires to augment the everyday world that we know so well.

New reader? Welcome to the Outer Limits! We encourage you to visit our FAQ, which you can access right here.

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, we always welcome them. We read every email and address the most common threads in the Friday AMA. Please write to us 

Previous Post Next Post