Bose has long been known for its forward-thinking audio experiments, but even the most dedicated first adopters among us couldn’t have predicted that the company would actually put its headphone/sunglasses concept — which the company shared earlier this year — into full-fledged production.
And yet, here we are: Bose, the company best-known for its high-end noise-canceling headphones and grandma-friendly boomboxes, is entering the world of augmented reality headsets.
Called the Frames, the headphone/sunglass combo will feature a proprietary augmented reality interface the company claims is the world’s first audio-based AR platform. Unlike products like Google Glass and others, that means there will be no visual interface for the AR functionality on the glasses — they will operate based on sound alone.
The Frames will have sensors that can tell what direction you’re facing, provide audio information about locations and trivia, and add effects if you’re playing a game, though specifics on how any of this will work are being witheld until the upcoming South by Southwest conference in March 2019, where Bose will launch its AR experiences to the public.
“Bose Frames are both revolutionary and practical,” said Mehul Trivedi, director of Bose Frames, in a press release. “They look and act like classic sunglasses — until you turn them on. And then you’re connected to your phone, contacts, the web, and all its audible content, just like headphones. There’s nothing else like them — they’re a breakthrough you have to see, wear, and hear to believe.”
We know a bit about the hardware inside of the Ray-Ban-like glasses, which will come in both square Wayfarer-style and round Snapchat Spectacle-style frames. The Frames will be Google Assistant- and Siri-enabled, and have a battery that will last for 3.5 hours of wireless playback (depending on volume). They will also have up to 12 hours of standby time for when you’re having fun in the sun.
Perhaps most interestingly (and in a move that may actually bode well for adoption in the mass market), the Frames will cost an actually reasonable $200, especially when compared to other high-end sunglasses and AR hardware. You can pre-order them today, and they’ll start shipping in January 2019 — and you better believe we’re excited to get our paws on a pair, if only for the sheer novelty.