Snap launches new styles of Spectacles that look more like traditional sunglasses

If the main hangup that’s kept you from purchasing Snap’s Spectacles has been their design, two new models that the company is introducing today might eliminate those hesitations. Snap has just announced the new Veronica and Nico styles of Spectacles 2. They contain all the same features and recording quality improvements as the model first introduced in April, but this time inside a more traditional look. It maybe won’t be quite so obvious that you’re wearing Spectacles anymore.


The new models of Spectacles are also different in a couple of other ways: they’ve got polarized lenses, and they come with a nondescript, black “semi-soft” case instead of the bright yellow hard case you get with the original Spectacles 2. Both the Veronica and Nico styles are available starting today for $199 in “limited quantities” at launch. This fall, they’ll also be sold at select Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus stores in the US and a variety of retailers in Europe. And like before, Snap’s partner Lensabl will let customers order prescription lenses for their glasses. Both models are only available in black for the time being.


Snap says that since the introduction of Spectacles 2, users have been posting, on average, 40 percent more photos and videos captured with the glasses. The company has also made it easier to share that content on other platforms outside Snapchat by adding automatic camera roll saves and by allowing users to export video in more conventional square and horizontal formats.

A new feature due later this fall will automatically curate a day’s best Spectacles captures into a Highlight Story. So if you wear them all day and take a plethora of stills and videos, this will prevent you from having to comb over everything yourself for the best moments.


Snapchat’s redesign cost it millions of users

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel hoped that a Snapchat redesign would invigorate the platform’s advertisers and better cater ads to users. But in the months following its unveiling, 1.2 million users around the world signed a petition begging the company to reconsider. Snap followed through with its plans, and today, Snap confirmed that the redesign cost it to lose 2 percent of its daily active users — from 191 million to 188 million — in just a quarter.

Spiegel said during today’s prepared earnings call remarks that it took users’ feedback seriously. “We feel that we have now addressed the biggest frustrations we’ve heard and are eager to make more progress on the tremendous opportunity we now have to show more of the right content to the right people.” Still, this marks the first time the company’s lost users since going public, and it won’t be easy to gain them back.

The rest of the company’s financials exceeded investors’ expectations. Revenue increased 44 percent year-over-year, from $182 million in the second quarter of last year to $262 million this year. Its stock is up, possibly because in addition to increasing revenue, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal acquired a 2.3 percent stake in the company. Notably, the company relaunched its Spectacles glasses this past quarter, but didn’t offer much information on how they’re selling. Spiegel mentioned them only briefly, saying that the company is “learning a lot” from customer feedback, and that he envisions them being essential to Snap’s future plans around augmented reality.

Overall, it’s not great news for investors that Snapchat lost users, especially considering how heavily Instagram is now gunning for it. Even Kylie Jenner, who once loved Snapchat, launched her own makeup filter on Instagram last month without building one for Snapchat. That loss might matter more than some angry users.

Snapchat launches new Lenses that respond to your voice

Snap continues to experiment with its augmented reality Lenses, and today, the company launched new ones that will respond to a user’s voice. Some lenses will ask users to say words like, “hi,” “love,” or “wow,” which will cause the lenses to animate. So far, I only have one of these lenses available, and mine tells me to say “okay.” When I do, a little cat paw pops up making the okay symbol.

It seems to work fine, although I feel like I had to shout to get the app to hear me. I’m also sitting in a silent office, so you’d think it’d easily register my command. In either case, this Lens offers an interesting interaction idea, even though it’s slightly difficult to use. Most lenses on Snapchat require users to make a specific face or tap the screen to animate the Lenses. I don’t totally see the use case for a voice-activated Lens. I try to hide when I’m taking a selfie, so I definitely don’t want to yell random phrases at my phone while capturing my face.

Meanwhile, Instagram just recently got into branded AR filters. Kylie Jenner launched her branded filter on the app yesterday, which probably hurt Snap a little bit considering that Jenner used to love Snapchat and regularly voiced her enthusiasm. Although Instagram’s lenses aren’t as unique or well-designed, Snapchat doesn’t have as large of an active user base. So while I appreciate the work the team is putting in, I wish I actually had friends on the app and thereby a reason to open it.