Apr 13 2024

Smart in theory

Now the embargo on reviews of the Humane Ai Pin has come to an end, Humane might be wishing it hadn’t. Let Cherlynn Low at Engadget stand as an example of what’s out there:

[Low is describing the way you find yourself needing to enter a number in order to validate your identity multiple times a day, on a device that lacks a keypad so has to project numbers onto the palm of your hand. Sounds complicated, but I’m sure Humane’s designers thought users would get used to it over time.]

This gesture is smart in theory but it’s very sensitive. There’s a very small range of usable space since there is only so far your hand can go, so the distance between each digit is fairly small. One wrong move and you’ll accidentally select something you didn’t want and have to go all the way out to delete it.

Smart in theory” That damning phrase might serve as Humanes epitaph.

Given how frequently the response to reading about the Ai Pin seems to be some variation of what does this do that my smartphone can’t do better and faster?”, three thoughts arise:

  1. Displacing the smartphone is going to take quite some doing; and,
  2. Paying Humane US$699 for the Ai Pin itself, plus a monthly bill for the supporting cell service/gateway to off-device network services, is a sign that some people have more money than sense;1 and,
  3. Are we 100% certain that the founders of Humane weren’t sent on a kamikaze mission by Apple to remind us all of how useful smartphones are?

Of course, almost everyone asking about using a smartphone to accomplish similar goals has not yet had hands-on experience of using an Ai Pin. Perhaps using the device in real life will transform opinions. That’s not the impression I get watching Joanna Stern’s 90 second video review on Twitter/X, but it’s early days yet.

[Via Daring Fireball]

  1. Just as - in a different context - someone paying Apple US$3,499 for a Vision Pro is. The difference is mostly in the prospect that the company will stick with their new platform and produce future versions refining the concept, ideally at a lower price point. The release of a Vision Air or Vision Mini by Apple one day seems plausible. I’m not so sure Humane are going to survive to produce the Ai Pin 2.↩︎