Forget Meta Quest 3 — Meta’s first true AR smart glasses reportedly launching this fall

Ray-Ban Stories in charging case
(Image credit: Ray-Ban)

Following the success of the Quest 3, and the generally warm reviews of the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, Meta is preparing to show its next big mixed-reality innovation later this year, according to Business Insider.

The site claims that two anonymous insiders have revealed the AR team is being pushed to have its AR glasses — internally codenamed "Orion" — demoed during Meta’s annual Connect event. This typically takes place in the fall, with last year’s event falling at the end of September.

These are set to be a distinct product from the Ray-Ban Stories glasses which simply record video and take photographs via a camera impressively concealed within the ordinary looking frames. 

Indeed, Business Insider calls these the company’s first “true” AR glasses, bringing to mind the ill-fated Google Glass and the prospect of apps to be used via a visual overlay. 

Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s chief technology officer, has been talking up such a device since last year. In a December interview with The Verge, he spilled the beans on a possible 2024 demo, saying: “I think there’s a pretty good chance that people will get a chance to play with it in 2024”.

Describing it as “our most exciting prototype that we’ve had to date,” Bosworth went on to talk up the device as a possible game changer. 

“I might get myself in trouble for saying this: I think it might be the most advanced piece of technology on the planet in its domain. In the domain of consumer electronics, it might be the most advanced thing that we’ve ever produced as a species."

One of Business Insider’s sources claims that you can get a glimpse at some of the aforementioned prototypes on the desk of CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg thanks to a post on Threads. The two sets of frames in shot appear chunkier than the Ray-Ban Stories, but that might be a small price to pay for extra functionality — especially if it’s as exciting as Bosworth suggests.

Mark Zuckerberg at his desk in a picture shared on Threads

(Image credit: Threads/Mark Zuckerberg)

However, it’s important to note that a demo this year isn’t the same thing as something you’ll be able to buy. They are, as Business Insider notes, currently “costly to produce, much less sell at retail”, so it may be many years before you have a set on your face. 

Indeed, a leaked roadmap from last year doesn’t anticipate AR glasses as arriving until 2027. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how far we’ve come in the AR space in the nine years since Google Glass was originally discontinued at this year’s Connect event.

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Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.