"Comparing Snapchat’s New Glasses to Apple’s & GoPros" in Humanizing Tech
What the future of millennial video looks like.
By now you’ve likely read the Wall Street Journal article and many other posts and commentary on Snapchat’s hardware announcement, Spectacles.
- They’re not called Snapchat any longer. They’re just Snap.
- They made sunglasses with a video camera in them. It takes 10 second clips when you push a button. And they come in 3 colors.
If the first part is about it becoming camera company instead of a messaging company, then the second part of that is about becoming a hardware platform instead of just an app.
II. A New Camera Company
Speigel has studied Kodak to help inform his company’s camera future. I would advise against using historical analogies to help determine product roadmaps. Rather, start from human needs and work backwards.
Moving Snap into physical objects means he also just opened up some new competition. Warby Parker glasses. Apple iPhones. GoPro action cameras. Facebook VR goggles. And of course, the upcoming Apple Glasses.
GoPro’s action camera isn’t built for the Snapchat generation. The iPhone has the specs to be an action camera but it’s hard to strap one of those onto your face.
But the difference between Apple’s upcoming camera, from the Line acquisition, is the positioning of the camera’s two “eyes”. As you can see from the image at the top of this post, Apple’s iPhone has almost become cross-eyed, while Snap’s glasses are more fishlike on the side of the head.
In both cases, the lenses are not at the right distance from one another for true human depth perception. What that ultimately means is that software will need to do that translation from close-together eyes or far-apart eyes into normal-apart eyes.
But you can’t magically create 3D space or a new angle of depth where one doesn’t exist. I believe this issue will be very subtle and likely not talked about much because they’re not in the public’s hands yet. But I imagine headaches happening from these minute differences that will make things feel almost real, but not quite.
If Apple knows what they’re doing with their AR glasses, they will be very careful to place the camera lenses at the exact same distance apart as human eyes.
Remember, start with the human and work backwards. Don’t start with putting a camera and some chips in the stems of the glasses just because it’s convenient.
Do the hard work that nobody else does. That will end up becoming your differentiator and your defensibility.
What troubles me, however, is that the team who put this together was previously employed at GoPro and Apple.
III. Moving Away From Messaging
Snapchat got rid of the chat in their name. If you look at the engagement analytics of their product, it’s clear that the most used feature is Stories. There’s a reason Instagram copied it. Two other highly used features are video lenses and geo filters. In all three cases, the product theme is clear: fun.
Fun is the reason that animated movies gross $1 billion globally while even movies like Interstellar struggle to meet the same level. Fun is a reason that a girl likes a guy. He makes her laugh. Fun is the reason we spend money to go to concerts, music festivals, and watch games with friends.
Don’t underestimate its importance to humankind. Life is hard. School is confusing. Jobs are tough. And we want an escape. Music, movies, entertainment.
That’s what Snap is all about.
A lesser used feature is people chatting back and forth. Sure, kids are sending photos back and forth faster than you can pass a paper note in class, but it’s not what you turn to when you want to chat with someone about anything that needs to get done, coordinate night out plans, etc. We use Apple Messages for that. Texting.
So, you’ll begin to see Snap continue to invest in more things that create fun for its users and move away from things that are serious, like chatting. Meanwhile, even Apple is joining the funwagon with its new messaging stickers, animated backgrounds, and emojis.
III. What Does It All Mean?
A few things. Namely, that you will begin to see a convergence of competition from three powerhouse camera companies: Apple, Snap, GoPro. In all cases, most of the everyday person’s photography isn’t done by professional DSLRs or even indoors on the couch. Most of the photos we take and see on Instagram or Facebook have captured moments out in the world.
Sure, some of those may be inside a bar, or at a restaurant with family, but typically when we humans take a photo, it’s of something that seems striking or memorable enough to pull us into taking a photo. Because we’re out doing something. It’s the “do” that’s important.
- Snap puts a camera in your very human direct line of site so when you’re ready to take a hands-free video, you tap a button and begin rolling.
- GoPro is similar in that you set it and forget it but the footage is much too long. So they’re forced to acquire AI editing apps to munch it down into shareable bites that seem compelling.
- Apple, meanwhile, just gives you the tools and lets you do whatever you want. But they’re not hands free. Yet. Their upcoming Glasses are likely to take a similar route to Snap’s. But Apple’s true product vision is even grander.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that Facebook is curiously absent from this consumer action camera hardware game.
I suspect in a few years, they won’t be.
Meanwhile Snap will attempt to corner the market in AR, not for productivity or health, but for fun.
Comparing Snapchat’s New Glasses to Apple’s & GoPros was originally published in Humanizing Tech on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
from Stories by Sean Everett on Medium http://ift.tt/2dhknny