Ex-Apple Engineers Create ‘Ai Pin’ to Replace the iPhone
San Francisco tech startup, Humane, founded by former Apple engineers, revealed their new AI-powered device yesterday, known as the Ai Pin.
The device is poised to challenge the dominance of smartphones like the iPhone. Humane, created by a duo of Apple alumni, Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, has invested five years and is backed by $240 million of funding into the development of this device, securing 25 patents and forging partnerships with prominent tech companies such as OpenAI, Microsoft, and Salesforce, according to The New York Times.
Slated for release next year, Humane anticipates selling approximately 100,000 Ai Pins at a price of $699 USD each ($967 CAD), accompanied by a $24 USD ($33 CAD) monthly subscription as you get your own phone number and data plan from T-Mobile. Pre-orders start next week for the U.S. and so far there’s nothing about a launch of the Ai Pin for Canada.
The husband and wife founders, Chaudhri and Bongiorno, met at Apple in 2008. Chaudhri worked on the human interface of the iPhone, while Bongiorno was a program manager for the iPad and the iPhone.
Their departure from Apple in late 2016 marked the beginning of Humane’s journey to create a device that replicates the utility of the iPhone without its addictive components. The aim was to eliminate the dopamine-driven interactions typical of smartphones, like refreshing social media feeds or swiping through videos. Their approach involved secret hardware experiments and the development of a virtual assistant, partly based on OpenAI’s language models.
José Benitez Cong, another former Apple executive, joined Humane seeking redemption from his role in the societal impact of the iPhone, noting how even his one-year-old son had learned to swipe on a screen.
Before even releasing a product, Humane’s backers valued the company at $850 million, indicating significant market confidence.
The Ai Pin is designed with elegance and simplicity, featuring sleek finishes, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, and a lightweight aluminum body. It comes in three variations: Eclipse, Equinox, and Lunar, each with distinct aesthetic choices.
There are no conventional screens, as the Ai Pin relies on hand gestures for interaction and includes a Laser Ink Display that projects onto the user’s palm. Additionally, it incorporates a wide-angle optical sensor, a rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery with wireless charging, and a unique ‘Trust Light’ to indicate when the device is active.
The Ai Pin’s advanced features include dual microphones, a personal speaker system, and a touchpad capable of interpreting various finger gestures. Its technical specifications boast an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and dual-antenna MIMO LTE connectivity.
Looking at the demo of the Ai Pin, it’s an interesting device but it seems like it will be a tough sell to replace a secondary device to the iPhone like an Apple Watch. The pin itself looks heavy enough to weigh down your t-shirts and who wants to have all your information read out by a speaker in public?
Check out their demo below, which is presented in a super dry and calming presentation that doesn’t really hype up the device:
— Humane (@Humane) November 9, 2023
Here’s their promo showing how someone can use the Ai Pin in public:
The Human Experience
— Humane (@Humane) November 10, 2023
Would you ever buy the Ai Pin? It looks like something out of Star Trek.