The Wall Street Journal

Bose Frames Review: The Headphones of the Future Are... Sunglasses


The problem with headphones is that they're headphones. Bose's answer is a pair of sunglasses that projects audio into your ears, and use sensors to do some really cool things like audible navigation, as WSJ's David Pierce demonstrates. Photo/Video: Emily Prauolenis/The Wall Street Journal

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"Solidarity is humanity," he says. "Solidarity is survival. That is the lesson of 2020. With the world in disunity and disarray trying to contain the pandemic, let's learn the lesson and change course for the pivotal period ahead."

The landmark address marks the beginning of a month of UN-led climate action, which includes the release of major reports on the global climate and fossil fuel production, culminating in a climate summit on 12 December, the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
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Presenter: Mohammed Jamjoom

Anna Blakney, Research Fellow and bioengineer at Imperial College London
Azeddine Ibrahimi, Professor of Medical Biotechnology at Mohammed V University of Rabat.
Sterghios Moschos, Molecular Virologist at Northumbria University
Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of President-elect Biden's Covid-19 advisory board, discussed efforts underway to distribute the vaccine and how Biden's pick to run the Center for Disease Control will help assure Americans that response efforts will be "led by the best of the science." Aired on 12/16/2020.

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- When Apple's Air Pods first came out
I kind of thought they looked stupid.
Actually I still kinda think they look stupid.
I mean they look like the heads
on an electric toothbrush.
I feel much cooler wearing the new
Bose Frames which work like a pair of headphones
but look just like any ordinary sunglasses.
And best of all, not at all like toothbrushes.
Here's how they work.
They have speakers and microphone on the inside
which play music or podcasts or whatever else
which sounds like it would end up
playing everything so loudly that
anyone around you could hear you,
like you're the monster who listens
to music on speakerphone in public.
But Bose has some really clever
noise canceling tech that actually
manages to mask the sound that emanates out.
It doesn't kill everything,
but unless I really crank the volume
the most it'll sound like is the sort of
leaky headphone audio you get from Apple's Air Pods.
Basically don't use these in the quiet car
but out in the world you won't disturb anybody.
I'm so intrigued by these Frames
because it turns out I wear my actual Air Pods
for hours, basically every single day
and I do way more than just listen
to music on my headphones.
I listen to podcasts, I make phone calls,
and especially with these new models,
I'm using the Air Pods to talk to Siri
throughout the day.
It's so much easier to use Alexa
or Google Assistant or Siri to say, "call Anna,"
or "remind me tomorrow morning to
pick up the dry cleaning"
then it is to dig out my phone
and try to do it that way.
Air Pods and all these other truly
wireless headphones I've been testing
are designed to offer the same kind of utility
but in your ears all the time.
But the problem with headphones is
that they're headphones
and I really, really don't wanna
live in a world where everyone wears headphones 24/7.
How will you ever know if anyone
is listening to you?
We need a way to have digital
and real world audio at the same time,
but shoving giant hunks of plastic
deep into your ears is not the solution.
That's what works so well about these frames.
Right now, for instance,
I'm listening to the new Taylor Swift song
but I can also hear the world around me
and anyone who might wanna talk to me.
It just makes sense.
You have real headphones for when
you wanna shut everything else out
and something like Frames for when
you want your podcasts or notifications
but still wanna be part of society.
Along with the Frames,
Bose is also doing some really interesting
augmented reality stuff that I think
is the future for all these headphones too.
I can get audio walking or driving directions
which isn't particularly novel,
but I can also get directions with
an app called Naviguide.
- [Woman] Head north on Front Street.
- And if I double tap on my sunglasses
while I'm navigating,
it'll use the GPS in my phone
plus the sensors in my sunglasses
to figure out if I'm looking at
any of the interesting landmarks in its database
and tell me about it.
It'll even look for popular restaurants nearby
and read me Yelp reviews.
- [Woman] Mixed is currently open
and has a rating of 3.0 stars with
75 reviews on Yelp.
- There's also some AR games like this one
where a super computer is trying
to take over the world and you can talk,
type, or even communicate just by shaking
or nodding your head.
- [Man] Do you understand?
- All these features are pretty primitive right now
but they're really cool
and Bose is opening up the tech
that powers it all to lots of other developers.
The real beauty of Frames is that,
well they're not headphones.
I have to say I thought these would
be kind of ridiculous,
but I find myself wearing them all the time.
It's great to have a computer in your ear,
but it's even better when it doesn't
block out the real world
and it's even better still when
instead of making me look ridiculous,
they make me look awesome.
(upbeat music)

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