In the years leading up to the release of the Apple Watch, we were frequently teased with concept designs of what Apple's smartwatch might look like. Of course, many of those outlandish designs were off the mark, but the attention to the idea itself hinted that the public was ready for a mainstream wearable from a high-end hardware maker like Apple. Now smartglasses are getting the same treatment.
We're now seeing the first signs that the public may also be ready for mainstream-friendly smartglasses, the latest signal coming from a South Korean design studio PDF Haus.
The design studio crafted a pair of concept augmented reality smartglasses using the French fashion brand Givenchy (with no official affiliation) to demonstrate how such a device might be treated if offered from a well-known luxury brand. In addition to the device's AR capabilities, the designers also envision the smartglasses as being used for virtual reality apps as well.
Not much is discussed with regard to actual technology within the smartglasses (other than mentioning that the device would have both AR and VR capabilities), instead, the focus here is on design and presentation.
Although that might seem superficial, the fact is that Google Glass made its strongest pitch to the public via the fashion runway by teaming up with famed designer Diane von Furstenberg back in 2012. The pair of companies later offered the limited edition Furstenberg version of Glass, bundled with detachable shades, for $1,800, a $300 premium over the usual $1,500 price of Glass.
Alas, we now know that both the standard version of Glass and the fashion forward version of the device failed to capture most of the public's imagination. Nevertheless, that early attempt to marry fashion and tech-powered wearables helped smooth the way for the Apple Watch and its eventual collaboration with high-end fashion brand Hermès.
Today, a wide array of sometimes pricey bands, some enabled with features like camera accessories, are available to support the device, whether you use it as a fashion accessory, or as a way to organize your day and monitor your heart rate.
Given that rapid trajectory from initial "who needs an Apple Watch?" skepticism to watching the fashion bible Vogue regularly feature the device in its pages, it's no longer a stretch to imagine AR smartglasses similar to this Givenchy-branded concept one day becoming a style staple on the faces of the fashion elite.
The experts at places like Facebook's Oculus believe it will take at least five years for a viable pair of AR smartglasses to become a reality, but as recent reports reveal, Apple aims to be at the head of the pack. In that light, this smartglasses concept product is less wishful thinking and more a tantalizing look at the very near future.