Humane Ai Pin

Humane Ai Pin

After years of hype, curiosity, and leaks, Humane launched their first product today: Ai Pin.

It’s beautiful. The team at Humane deserve tremendous credit for building something with such precision and a keen sense of aesthetics. The design of the Ai Pin and its peripherals like the charging case, attachment options, and battery booster is inspiring. When one reflects on the intersection of fashion and technology only a few companies and products come to mind: Sony with the Walkman, Apple with the iPod (of course), Beats Electronics with the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones, and others. Perhaps Humane will join this list.

I am seriously considering purchasing an Ai Pin. However, I have some questions and concerns:

  1. Using the Ai Pin requires telling everyone a new phone number. This means I will now have two phone numbers: one for the iPhone and one for the Ai Pin. I am obviously not giving up my iPhone anytime soon. This is reminiscent of the 1990s when people had car phones. To reach someone one would call a house line and then a car line. To be honest this was not super common, but I recall a few friends and relatives who had car phones.
  2. How can I see and share photos? I have kids, nieces, and nephews now! Leaving my iPhone at home means no more sharing to iCloud Shared Albums or seeing updates in albums I’m a member of. I’m fine giving up Instagram or waiting until I’m at a computer, but shared albums are too important at the moment. Grandmas need to see photos of their grandkids! I suppose I could take photos with the Ai Pin and then instruct it to send them to the grandmas via text. What about cousins and aunts and uncles and friends?
  3. Organizing the family with my wife is a full-time job. We constantly text each other to ask for help, make suggestions, send reminders, etc. That will become much more difficult without a keyboard. Perhaps we can rely on the Apple Watch to accomplish this?
  4. The Ai Pin lasts only four hours before recharging, so it’s crucial to carry around an extra battery booster (or two?) that is charged. This means one must be vigilant with charging the battery boosters every day and also carry them around. This seems doable on a workday when I have a backpack, but what about the weekend? Currently at the end of the day I place my iPhone and Apple Watch on the MagSafe Duo Charger on my nightstand. I suppose I will need to make space for the Ai Pin charger which can charge both the Ai Pin and one battery booster. What about an extra battery booster? I’m genuinely concerned with this balancing act.

I could go on but the point is clear: the Ai Pin raises too many questions. It seems daunting to make such a drastic change to my daily life. One can argue how additive it is, but it’s certainly also subtractive. Do the AI features outweigh losing access to apps and a screen? How much will my productivity decrease? Is there a future I cannot see yet where AI supercharges productivity more so than innovation in today’s apps?

Take a step back to the late 1990s. We transitioned from encyclopedias and landlines to modems and pagers. Accessing information was limited and cumbersome. Then the cell phone arrived and it was purely additive.

For music we had cassette tapes, CDs, and eventually mp3s. When the iPod arrived we already had computers, a Firewire port, and a collection of mp3s. Most importantly we listened to digital music. Not only was the iPod additive, but it also enhanced an activity we already knew and loved. We were accustomed to carrying around devices that could play music too. The iPod merely replaced them.

Then the iPhone arrived (yes I’m ignoring the Handspring Treo, Motorola Q, Samsung Blackjack, Sony Ericsson P900, and Palm VII). We already had phones and texting. The iPhone was, again, additive. No changes were needed to our behavior.

The Ai Pin is a drastic change. I predict that the majority of buyers will continue to carry their mobile phones for the foreseeable future. Maybe by 2025 we will see the beginning of a transition to the Ai Pin as a sole device, but Apple and Google will continue to innovate and keep us hooked. Is hooked the right word? It seems too negative for how we perceive our phones.

It’s important to note simply saying that the Ai Pin will improve over time as its AI capabilities develop is not a strong argument. OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and others will also continue to innovate and become a deeper part of all the apps we use today. That could make our mobile phones even stickier. We have not even seen what Apple is working on regrading the latest and greatest with AI.

I have a decision to make. Meanwhile I’m so excited for the future.

Humane Hardware

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