In-earphones, earbuds, on-ear and around-the-ear are the main styles of wireless headphones, but Bose is trying something different, combining sunglasses with sound for something special.
Not everyone likes a pair of earphones to go inside the ear, and there are those who aren’t fans of headphones that go on or around. Personal audio has personal tastes, and there’s no one right way to listen to your own music, much like how there’s no one right type of music, either.
There are lots of different ways you can listen you music, just as there are plenty of genres of music and song.
Finding the right pair of earphones is usually a matter of reading the reviews and working out the style you’re into, but if you are against headphones that go in or around the ear, well, you may have a few troubles.
The reality is that most devices do just that, with at least one of those generally required to get sound from your phone to your ears when you’re out and about.
If you opt for the smaller designs, you’ll likely end up with an earphone or earbuds that gets stored in the ear, and if you don’t mind something bigger, there are headphones that sit on (supra-aural) and around (circumaural), with everything else really coming back to a speaker of some kind.
Bose has dabbled in pretty much every kind and take on personal audio, and it even came out with something unusual last year in the SoundWear Companion, a speaker system you wear around the neck, built for folks who don’t necessarily like their earphones to sit close to the ear.
That might be a little crazy, and somewhat intrusive for people planning on getting around, and so Bose has been working on another solution to solve the problem of personal audio, turning to the world of fashion for an intriguing solution: sunglasses.
Specifically, Bose has been building a pair of sunglasses that hide a pair of speakers in the band, allowing you to wear your speakers like you would a pair of sunglasses, and hear your sound direct from your phone.
There are two styles, with the Bose Frames collection made up of the Alto and Rondo, the latter of which is square and angled, while the former is rounder and smaller, each with the same speaker and microphone technology inside, built to provide a tiny audio system in the arms of the eyewear, complete with one button to trigger Google Assistant, or to pause and skip songs.
Bose’s Frames have been out in America for a few months now, but they’re on their way to Australia, converting a pair of sunglasses to something with sound, and they’re not just a basic pair of sunnies, either.
Equipped with interchangeable lenses that block up to 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays, the lenses are offered in both polarised and non-polarised options, with a lens collection offered.
Bose did tell Pickr that there were no prescription lenses available for the Bose Frames as of yet, with Bose advising that:
To maintain the warranty of your Bose Frames, lenses can only be replaced with authorised or approved lenses like the Bose Lens Collection. We are exploring partnerships to allow for prescription lenses under the warranty, but there are no approved channels for this yet.
That means if you happen to use a prescription lens for your shades, you can’t bring them over to a pair of Bose Frames, at least not yet. For now, you’ll just have to slip them over your regular glasses or contacts, because these frames won’t support your personal lens formula.
What they will support, however, is an augmented reailty platform, which Bose says uses a 9-axis motion sensor in the glasses and the GPS from your phone to add a layer of augmented reality audio to your device.
It’s a technology known as “Audio AR”, which unlike standard augmented reality’s reliance of showing digital information over what you see, instead will use the headphones to talk to the digital world. Bose’s Audio AR is still very much an “in development” thing, but it’s definitely coming, and the Bose Frames are compatible with it.
“Frames are both magical and practical,” said Bose’s Mehul Trivedi.
“With the new lens options, they’re more versatile premium sunglasses. But when you turn them on, they function like headphones, instantly connecting to your phone, contacts, the web, and all its audible content,” he said.
Designed to be lightweight, this is definitely a pair of earphones we’re looking forward to, and with a recommended retail price of $299.95 for either variation, Alto or Rondo, they could fit the bill of killing two birds with the one stone, fulfilling headphone and a pair of sunglasses.
You’ll find them in stores this week, alongside their non-prescription replaceable lenses, which will start from $29.95.