The tech world was taken by surprise this week with the unexpected unveiling of Snap's augmented reality Spectacles smartglasses.
So far, the reaction has been incredibly positive, partly due to the fact that Snap has been underpromising the delivery of AR smartglasses for several years, making it seem like they were far off in the future for the company. Therefore, the device's sudden debut felt more like a gift rather than an aspirational reach.
But now that the device is out in the wild, the main question many have is: How do I get a pair? Well, unlike previous versions of Spectacles, this device is not for sale just yet. Instead, Snap is offering them to select augmented reality creators around the world.
Currently, there are just a handful of users in locations from Los Angeles all the way to Ukraine. If you'd like to get your hands on a pair, for now, the best way is to submit an application to become one of Snap's beta testers. Although Snap isn't calling this a beta tester program, it has all the hallmarks of the usual beta test structure. Here's what you need to submit...
Snap will need your full legal name and email address.
Along with that name and email address, Snap also wants you to submit your Snapchat username. Not your Twitter or Instagram handle—your Snapchat user name. If you don't have one, creating one is easy. Just download the app for iOS or Android for free and get started.
Next, Snap wants to see your work. The company asks for a portfolio or website showing off what you're about in terms of creating visual experiences. Ideally, you want to show off AR or VR examples of visuals you've created. But this doesn't seem to be a rigid requirement, so if you're a traditional artist, you might try submitting your 2D/3D art website in this section.
But since Snap's Lens Studio is itself so user-friendly and doesn't have as steep a learning curve as something like Unity, you might also want to highlight other AR/VR tools like Blender, Photoshop, Tilt Brush, Microsoft's Maquette, or Adobe's Medium, for example. Oh, and if you've already plunged into the Lens Studio waters and created some Lenses, definitely mention that!
Next, Snap wants a link to your Snapchat Lens, AR/VR app, or at least a video of what your creation looks like. In my case, last year I created a Snapchat Lens called The Count (from Sesame Street fame) using Lens Studio. It's not the most complicated Lens, but it was what convinced me that Lens Studio is about as easy as using Photoshop. Translation: you can make a Snap Lens even if you don't think you can.
If you're still intimidated by the process and the more sophisticated Lenses you've seen out there, take heart, Lens Studio has a number of Beginner tutorials that show you how to quickly and easily create your first Snapchat Lens. Lens Studio is free, so there's nothing stopping you from giving it a try.
Finally, Snap wants to know what kind of AR experiences you plan to create. This is a pretty broad question, but, based on the conversation Snap CEO Evan Spiegel had with CNBC following the launch of the new Spectacles, it seems the company is (for now) less interested in enterprise or business implementations and is really trying to see how Lens creators can help make the device a lifestyle tool focused on fun, entertainment, and socializing.
Oh, and shopping! If there's one thing—other than Spectacles—that was made clear during yesterday's presentation it's that Snap plans to continue to lead the charge in using AR for shopping interactions and optimization.
If that all sounds doable on your end, you can begin the application process here.
There's no word on when Snap will select its next batch of users, but if you really want to join the future of Snap's AR platform, you should submit your application as soon as possible.