When Humane unveiled the Ai Pin wearable on Thursday evening, we already knew everything about it. The specs, features, and price of the Ai Pin had leaked hours before the official announcement. Still, we lacked context and needed to see exactly how Humane pitched the device and whether that $699 price tag would be worth it.
After seeing Humane’s display-less AI-based smartphone vision for the future, I can safely say that I’ll never replace my iPhone with something like the Ai Pin. Never, ever, not in a thousand lifetimes. Not in this form.
The biggest problem with the device is the lack of a screen, which will make everything more difficult. Humane’s desire to eliminate displays is noble, don’t get me wrong. And I’d love to reduce my iPhone screen time with the help of AI. But we’re not quite in a place where that can happen.
That said, I immediately thought about one use case scenario for the Humane Ai Pin where I’d have no trouble relying on an AI gadget rather than taking the iPhone from my pocket. It’s running and walking sessions for me, but it could fit well with outdoor fitness activities.
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I already told you how I use ChatGPT to improve my running, from picking better equipment to actually devising a training plan for running a half-marathon. And it worked. I’m running faster than ever, and I’ve completed one official race, ran two additional half-marathons, and ran and walked several hundred miles this year. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Humane Ai Pin comes with a laser projector. Image source: Humane
Also, I use the Apple Watch to track my performance, but I always bring the iPhone with me. By now, you might have realized where I’m going with this. I’d rather clip something like the Ai Pin to my clothing when running and walking and leave the smartphone at home.
The reason I carry the handset has to do with communication. I didn’t get a cellular Apple Watch, so I need to be able to answer calls if the need arises. I could upgrade the Apple Watch and leave the iPhone at home. Considering the Ai Pin’s price tag, that’s the better option.
But then Humane also demoed a few interesting features for the Ai Pin that the Apple Watch can’t offer. The Pin can take hands-free photos and videos, which is something I could have used while running my half-marathon race. I could take pictures more often and even record entire running sessions.
Humane Ai Pin supports touch gestures and voice. Image source: Humane
Since running and walking takes a lot of time, I might be out at odd hours of the day. With winter setting in and days getting shorter, that also means running well after dark. And while it’s generally safe around me, the Ai Pin could help with my peace of mind. After all, accidents happen, and I’d need to be able to call for help.
Not only that, but again, the Ai Pin lets you quickly record videos and take photos. It could be a handy bodycam that I’d hope to never have to use.
Maybe I get ideas I want to remember while I train, and the Ai Pin could help me easily save those notes. I’d just have to talk to the AI or touch it to get started. The AI could also answer questions I might have, and it would automatically translate foreign languages. Also, I think the AI could help out if I get lost. It could be faster than loading up Google Maps on the iPhone.
A person wearing the Humane Ai Pin. Image source: Humane
The Humane wearable could also help with entertainment. I often have music, a podcast, or even a Netflix documentary playing while I run and walk. I usually select those before I leave the house. But with the Ai Pin, I could do it on the fly. Too bad Humane doesn’t do apps. This means the Ai Pin doesn’t work with all the services I’d subscribe to.
I’d also take advantage of the AI’s ability to recognize food and beverages and calculate the intake of calories. When running longer distances, I pack water and gels. When walking, I stop for food. An AI that sees the food I consume could come in handy, helping me make the process more efficient. That would be especially good during official races.
Finally, I can’t help but wonder whether an AI like the ones powering the Ai Pin could actually help monitor my progress. There could be AI models that could take into account data coming from the Ai Pin to give me on-the-fly stats about my running. The AI could compare what I’m doing with past races and maybe point out issues with how I run.
At the very least, the AI could keep track of my chosen routes and then map them out inside map apps.
Accessing Humane Ai Pin content on a computer. Image source: Humane
I will also point out that Humane’s commitment to strong user privacy is a great Ai Pin feature. I’d be more willing to collect all that data about myself during my runs, knowing that the data won’t be fed to the AI or sold to third parties for ads.
Unfortunately, most of what I’ve described above will eventually require a display. I’d need a screen to go through the data the Ai Pin collects. I would need to load an app on a smartphone or a website to see the photos, videos, notes, calories, and other health stats the AI might help me collect. And I’d only be able to do that when I return home.
Is all that worth $699 and a separate $24/month phone encryption? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. Not to mention that the Ai Pin isn’t available in Europe, and from the looks of it, it’s not coming anytime soon. A better bet would be getting a first-gen Apple Watch Ultra and wait for Apple’s AI to roll along.