New Luxottica smart glasses were approved by the FCC ahead of the expected launch of the next generation Ray-Ban Stories.
The current Ray-Ban Stories are camera glasses for taking hands-free first person photos and videos. They also have speakers and a microphone for music and phone calls but there is no display of any sort. Snapchat has been selling successive generations of a similar product, Spectacles, since 2017.
Meta and Ray-Ban owner Luxottica officially announced work on new smart glasses at Meta Connect 2022 last October. Last month The Wall Street Journal reported the new model could launch "either in the fall or next spring".
Meta Connect 2023 is set for next Wednesday, and in an Instagram ask-me-anything session in July, Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth strongly hinted at an announcement happening then:
"I love my Ray-Ban Stories that exist today. The ones that we have under development are even more exciting, and we will have more to share on that pretty soon."
The FCC is the US regulatory agency with responsibility over wireless frequency use. Its approval is necessary to sell a device with wireless capabilities in the US market.
Luxottica's new device approval is its second ever, the first being the original Ray-Ban Stories. The filing documents reveal that unlike the original it supports the 6GHz Wi-Fi frequency band introduced in Wi-Fi 6E.
The higher frequency enables increased bandwidth and less interference from other devices - and internal Meta documents reportedly viewed by journalist Janko Roettgers last month may reveal the purpose of this higher bandwidth transfer capability.
Roettgers said the documents revealed the new model will have higher quality cameras, longer battery life, and an anti-tamper mechanism to disable capturing images or videos when the front LED is covered. A more radical change the documents reportedly reveal is that they will support livestreaming to Instagram and Facebook with viewer comments read by an assistant via the built-in speakers. They still won't have a display. In March The Verge reported that VP of AR Alex Himel told staff that will arrive in the third generation, alongside a neural input wristband.
The Wall Street Journal report claimed less than 10% of the current first generation Ray-Ban Stories are being "used actively".
Meta reportedly isn't giving up it seems, and leadership at the company likely hopes the new features and improvements can draw in a wider audience and retain active users.