Meta’s Smart Ray-Bans Go Retro Glam With Cat-eye Frames, Plus Updates

Meta’s smart Ray-Bans just got a little smarter, with video calling and the Meta AI assistant’s new vision capability for U.S. and Canadian users.

But all that got overshadowed by Meta chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg’s call with Instagram’s Eva Chen, director of fashion partnerships. The Instagram Reel was clearly intended to show off the video calling feature and the brand-new cat-eye style for the connected eyeglasses. But along the way, Chen schooled Zuckerberg on how to rock the mob chic aesthetic with his latest obsession — a gold chain that the CEO has been sporting in public lately.

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Her tip: Don’t let the chain droop too long. Instead, stick with a medium length for a more on-trend look. However, a longer length would work for eyeglass chains, which are coming back. “They’re not just for grandmas anymore,” she said. Cue joke about selling the Ray-Bans in a bundle with a chain.

As for the Ray-Bans, Chen told her boss at the top of the chat that she has been waiting for the cat-eye shape to arrive. The style, called Skyler, comes in either gray with gradient “cinnamon pink” lenses or shiny black with Transitions cerulean blue lenses, and is now available for pre-order.

It joins the collection alongside the Wayfarer and Headliner models, which are available in new colors that can be mixed and matched with different lenses through Ray-Ban Remix. The Headliner version also adds a low-nose bridge option. The new styles are available in 15 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia and throughout Europe.

The new looks on the outside debut alongside some new tech on the inside. The new video calling capability works with WhatsApp and Messenger, and even lets users share their view on a call. It’s gradually rolling out over the days ahead.

Expanded range of Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses, with new colors and a new cat-eye style, called Skyler.
Expanded range of Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses, with new colors and a new cat-eye style, called Skyler.

“From a breathtaking vista on a hike to experiencing your kid’s first steps, there are some moments in life that are just meant to be shared. That’s why we’re adding the ability to share your view on a video call with WhatsApp and Messenger,” the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Apparently, the glasses will also be able to pump Apple Music through its tiny but powerful open-air speakers, control playback hands-free and recommend songs based on the user’s listening patterns. The announcement didn’t reference that, but eagle-eyed observers noticed the update in the latest version of the Meta View app.

The most intriguing addition may be the Meta AI assistant’s new visual powers.

The bot previously worked on the glasses as an audio-only feature, but an early access program begun in December let people test “multimodal” features that tap into the device’s built-in ultra-wide 12 MP camera.

The result is that the AI can now “see” what the user is looking at and provide information about it. It can translate text, identify plants and write Instagram captions. The capability is more broadly rolling out now as a beta feature in the U.S and Canada.

Of course, there is no Ray-Ban and glasses chain bundle, at least not yet. For now, Zuckerberg is playing around with gold chains on his own time.

He has been stepping out in the look in recent days, which has baffled Meta watchers. That may be why he explained the move in his Instagram video: “I’m in the process of designing a ‘long-term’ chain,” he said. “I’m working with a designer to engrave the prayer that I sing to my girls every night when I put them to bed on the end of the chain.”

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