Snapchat Spectacles, Snap Inc's recently-revealed sunglasses for taking on-the-fly snaps, are available - if you can get to them. That's because rather than put the glasses up for sale online, Snap is selling the specs from a single vending machine that's touring around the US. The only problem is that nobody knows where it's going next.
A clock on the website will occasionally start counting down, revealing the next location when it hits zero. Cue hundreds of folks scrambling to get to it before all the glasses sell out. So far we've had LA's Venice Beach, Oklahoma, the Grand Canyon and now New York.
A lot of people have already queued and got their hands on a pair, with reactions and photos being posted to social media. The glasses are $130 a pop, but the machine will let you try on a virtual pair using a built-in camera. Not that we think that will make any difference - why would you decide against it at that moment, especially when people are making $1,000 on eBay for flogging extra pairs?
So where next? That's the golden question, and already our hope of deducing a pattern has gone out the window. By moving from LA to Big Sur we wondered if it was travelling up the West Coast and on course to hit San Francisco and maybe up to Seattle (it has an office up there), but then it started moving east, then west again, and then east again.
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There have been some telltale signs - literally - although we're not convinced this means anything after watching the route the Spectacles have been taking. Billboard showing the glasses have popped up in a number of cities, and while we reckon the glasses will eventually make their way to these locations, we wouldn't make any guess on when or in what order.
Here's what we know: the countdown seems to stop early morning in the time zone in which the machine will appear. For the first few drops that stopped at 7am local time, but it seems to have switched things up with a 6am drop for New York. That may be because it's a much busier location, or just because there are no rules to this cruel but excellent game Snap Inc is playing.
But with its latest appearance in Manhattan, NY, Snap has opened a full storefront on the southeast corner of Central Park. It's also going to be open through New Year's Eve, which means the value of those pairs on eBay will probably start climbing down.
However, we don't think this is the end of the Snapbot USA road trip. According to The LA Times, which did some digging around, Snap has filed for permits for selling in Oregon, Nevada, Texas and Washington state. That means it could well pop up in those locations, but we're sure there will be others too.
So keep an eye on the website. There's still a vaguely applicable rule here: if the countdown is going to stop at 3am your time, you're probably out of luck. But at 6am or 7am, it might be worth waking up for.
— Spectacles (@Spectacles) November 21, 2016
Another thing: outside of the NY drop, it appears supplies are always going to be very limited. So if you've fuelled up the car in hope of making it to a drop in time, bear in mind that you might be out of luck by the time you get there.
We're not sure how many machines there are. Until now we thought it was a single machine, and therefore unlikely to skip across coasts in a single day - but the latest appearance in New York suggests there are multiple bots.
If we were asked to guess where it's heading next, we wouldn't. But at least you now know that, if you're really desperate for a pair right now, New York is your golden ticket.
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