On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone at the Macworld convention. The first iPhone was later released on June 29, 2007. The iPhone is arguably revolutionary and has transformed the way we live today. iPhone form factor is credited to Apple’s Chief Design Officer, Jonathan Ive.
Twelve years have past and we are still looking for the next form factor in computing. Tech consumers are craving for new experience and something way better than the current iPhone. Remember Google Glass? Some said Google Glass failed because it simply wasn’t cool enough. Others say it was aesthetically unappealing. Since then, fashion tech startups have developed smart glasses and better form factor. One of these startups is North, an eyewear startup and makers of Focals smart glasses. The company is on a mission to deliver a great pair of smart glasses you can wear all day, every day.
North was founded in 2012 by three graduates of the University of Waterloo’s mechatronics engineering program, Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey, Aaron Grant, North has grown to a world-leading team of engineers, researchers, designers and creators. To date, North has raised over $170M USD from investors including the Amazon Alexa Fund, Intel Capital and others.
Today, North announced it’s shipping next generation of smart glasses, Focals 2.0, will begin in 2020. Focals lead the emerging category of everyday smart glasses with a revolutionary display that offers heads up access to your digital life.
“The first generation of Focals marked the evolution of traditional glasses to smart glasses, with a considered design representing the first true everyday smart glasses available on the market,” said Stephen Lake, CEO and co-founder of North. “Focals 2.0 are at a completely different level, as the most advanced smart glasses ever made. They represent an enormous step forward in engineering the future. We spent the last year in the market learning how to build, sell and support smart glasses with our first generation product, that we now will combine with over five years of research working on the technology upgrades in Focals 2.0.”
As of today, North is focused on bringing Focals 2.0 to market and the first generation of Focals will no longer be available for purchase. “Focals 2.0 is such an incredible step forward and we are gearing up to bring to market at scale,” said CTO and co-founder Matthew Bailey. “Since launching Focals last fall, we have consistently updated the product experience and will continue to add new features and functionality to our first product generation as we build to our launch of 2.0.”
North announced Focals in October 2018, reigniting excitement in the smart glasses category and signaling the future of Rx eyewear: all-day everyday smart glasses that look as good as the best traditional eyewear. The launch included the opening of two North Flagship Retail Showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto, followed by mobile Pop-Up Showrooms that have been touring major cities since February 2019. Most recently, North debuted the Focals Showroom iOS app, enabling customers to complete the required sizing process (via an iPhone X or above) and purchase Focals online.
Paul Graham, the respected venture capitalist and best known as the co-founder of the influential startup accelerator and seed capital firm Y Combinator, even tweeted about North. “It’s interesting that the next form factor in computing isn’t obvious yet. The Apple Watch and Alexa are doing ok, but they’re not eating phones the way the successor usually does. Maybe this will,” Graham said on Twitter.
This is definitely it. The experience will be orders of magnitude better than a phone. The challenge will be blending technology w/ the fashion factor which is why Facebook’s teaming up w/ Luxottica is a brilliant move.
— Charles Brun (@_charlesbrun) December 10, 2019