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Phil Schiller on Google Glass: ‘I can’t believe they think anyone normal will ever wear these things’


The Tech Block on Thursday shared an email exchange between Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller and the website’s founder Abdel Ibrahim that pokes fun at Google Glass for its perception of being an unstylish device. The emails from 2012 surfaced just days after Google announced that it will be ending its Glass Explorer program on Monday as it works on a new version under the leadership of Tony Faddell.

After being sent a picture of actor Steve Martin wearing obnoxious looking glasses in the film “The Jerk,” mocking Google co-founder Sergey Brin wearing Glass, Schiller responds to Ibrahim saying “that is very funny” and that he “can’t believe they think anyone (normal) will ever wear these things. It reminds me of the push to market video goggles a few years back.”

Ibrahim and Schiller also spoke briefly about photography and DSLR cameras, with Schiller claiming that he had just placed an order for the Canon 1D-X. “I have no need of one over the 5D Mk III but I have always had 1D line cameras and love how indestructible they are.” The full email exchange, verified for authenticity by Business Insider, can be found below.

Phil Schiller Google Glass Email

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  1. There’s no real reason to wear Google Glass. It’s a cute test case, but scary as Phil alluded to. The real solution is something I came up with years ago and even shared with Steve Jobs in a conversation we had a number of years ago, his comment was simply “fucking brilliant”, but the technology at the time didn’t exist for it. Simply put it’s called AOME (Apple Of My Eye) and it’s wearable, requires no frames, runs on a very low power battery and makes google glass look ancient. Funny thing is it was thought about years before Glass was, and yes there’s documentation on that.

    One day they’ll be revealed to Google’s dismay.

    • smigit - 8 years ago

      I don’t doubt you, but there’s been visions for devices like this for decades. It’s just been an ongoing issue that the technology isn’t there, and likely still isn’t in many regards, especially batteries if both the Google Glass and trends in smart watches are anything to go by. What Google released wasn’t an ideal form factor, and I bet they’d be the first to admit it but at least they got something to the market to run real world tests with. Realistically, what they’ve shipped is a stage one device and that was largely limited to a few users based on its distribution model and pricing.

    • I too had a similar invention, it was a glasses that would shoot lasers like Cyclops from X-Men, and it would also allow me to watch cartoons all day. It would be made of Adamantium, and would block Professor X from reading my mind. But the technology didn’t exist then.

      Also I was 10 years old then. So Google and Apple, step aside. I invented this shit way before anyone.

    • Peter Chen - 8 years ago

      I’m sorry, but it’s comments like yours that really grinds my gears. I’m an engineer. So let me ask you a few questions. Did you make prototypes of what you “thought up”. Did it work? Did anybody see it? Did anyone try it? What you just described is something in the cloud. And not to mention what you just said here is almost like a kid saying “well I called shotgun first in my head so I get shotgun”. Are you f— serious? Have you actually tried working through any engineering projects? Because getting through a project even in a team of highly skilled engineers still requires scrapping about 95% of the ideas. And here you are talking about how you thought up something and it’s better than something that Google actually has released, tested, and shown to work well.

  2. philboogie - 8 years ago

    I think Sergey is already a jerk, without him wearing Glass. Just like Zuckerberg, Brin did some nasty stuff when founding Google.

    • Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 8 years ago

      Don’t you find it funny that Larry Page and Eric Schmidt don’t typically wear Google Glass in public? I haven’t seen any photos of either one wearing those things. And now they have to get an ex-Apple designer to hopefully fix the product so they can finally release them.

      I personally don’t think they are going to last long on the market. I’m sure there are a bunch of Google fans that will buy them, but I doubt they’ll wear them much after they get ridiculed in public and asked to remove them. I certainly won’t allow someone to wear them in my presence.

      • cjt3007 - 8 years ago

        Lol, people that won’t allow them to be worn in their presence are ridiculous. You’re not interesting enough to be filmed by random people all the time, sorry you think you’re so cool. If this is because you think the person wearing them just looks stupid, that isn’t really you’re business. People are allowed to wear any fashion accessory they like, unless they ask for it, your opinion doesn’t matter to them.

      • jrox16 - 8 years ago

        You never know how something you say can someday be used against you these days with all this social media. It doesn’t matter who you are, the idea of potentially being recorded at any time without knowing it is unsettling and will affect how people interact with each other. I’m no one but if I was speaking to someone wearing Glass I know I would, almost unconsciously, be much more guarded.

  3. AeronPeryton - 8 years ago

    I never thought Steve Martin could look that creepy.

  4. @cjt3007
    It’s not about filming random people all the time it’s about filming people at all!
    Here in Europe you just can’t film or take pictures of anybody. You have to ask! And filming a crowd of people is ok as long as you don’t explicitly recognize them. In that case you do even need a written and signed permission and a signed permission to publish these pictures in / on any media!
    Google is only interested in the collected data, which they sell for a fortune to anybody. (OK the NSA gets its for free!)
    Now that the USA wants to impose TTIP to the EU which most people here don’t want they are already pushing the secret treaty TISA which does even more allow the US to collect private data of EU people. I’m sure Google and Facebook are all very interested in these treaties.

  5. erictheactor - 8 years ago

    These are emails from 3 yrs ago?

    • The headline “Phil Schiller, 3 Years ago in a private email commented on Google Glass in passing” just wasn’t as catchy.

      I guess not every post here can be about scooping a new Macbook Air design.

  6. João Gabriel Sacco - 8 years ago

    This is SUCH a good time to revisit Steve Ballmer’s video about the iPhone. I thought we all knew it’s good to learn from the past. Just because I’m a huge Apple fan I’m worried about Phil being treated the way Steve is now.

    • We’re already 3 years on from that quote, and Phil was right. Only a douche-bag would wear that horrible crap.

      • smigit - 8 years ago

        Exactly. In it’s current form, the technology hasn’t reached the general public in mass volume and has many times been derided as being impractical and unfashionable. That’s not to say it won’t be redeveloped into a form factor that’s more appealing to general users, but if that happens then the design would have shifted to a form factor that renders Phils statement irrelevant anyway given his comment was based on the design that was out at the time, not necessarily of any future iterations.

        Also people who dislike Steve Ballmer probably dislike him for more than a single throw away comment he’s made over the course of his career towards a competitors product. I can’t imagine Phil will lose sleep over peoples reaction to this three year old email.

      • sircheese69 - 8 years ago

        “that renders Phils statement irrelevant”

        I would argue it’s irrelevant regardless.

      • João Gabriel Sacco - 8 years ago

        While I understood and fully agree with the “past the time” argument and the whole redesign process @smigit talked about, I’d just like to let you know that, maybe, some people, very few of them, but still some, may not be pleased with your comment. Judging people the way you did considering what they’re wearing is kind of, well, uneducated to say the least. But that’s just my opinion though. You can hate it too. But the only thing I don’t want is this comment section to turn into Android’s blogs where there’s only blind hate from fanboys. Sorry for my english (I’m Brazilian) and have a nice day (with a bit less hate, if possible)

    • However, there are certainly a number of vertical market applications for the technology, so I’m not tossing out the whole concept of augmented handsfree displays. Ski goggles, search and rescue visor integration, pilot helmets, etc.

  7. luckydcxx - 8 years ago

    How did these emails get out?

  8. acslater017 - 8 years ago

    Wearables: Apple Watch vs Google Glass, prototypical example of Apple vs Google product design.

    One’s discreet, one’s conspicuous. One taps you on the wrist, one flashes in your eyes. One looks classy, one looks nerdy. One will sell 10 million, one will sell 10 thousand. One will ship when it’s ready, one is a beleaguered, expensive alpha test.