Startup Humane will unveil its 'Ai Pin' on November 9 | Cult of Mac

Startup Humane will fully unveil its ‘Ai Pin’ in early November [Updated]


A runway model wearing Humane's Ai Pin.
Humane's wearable Ai Pin was teased at Paris Fashion Week.
Photo: Humane

Humane, a startup founded by Apple veterans, will unveil its “Ai Pin” on November 9, the company said Friday. The press release offered no further details about the launch.

Last week, the company teased the Ai Pin at Paris Fashion Week. Photographers shot pictures of supermodel Naomi Campbell wearing the device — the first person to wear it in public, Humane said.

Update: We embedded a video below showing Humane’s device up close. You probably won’t be very surprised by how Apple-like it looks, given its pedigree.

Humane’s iPhone-killer, the ‘Ai Pin’, coming in November

The closest look yet at Humane’s Ai Pin device.
The closest look yet at Humane’s Ai Pin device.
Photo: Humane

Humane is a San Francisco-based startup run by dozens of ex-Apple staffers, many of whom were instrumental in developing the original iPhone. Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, a husband-and-wife team of Apple veterans who both left the company in 2016, head up Humane.

A UI expert, Chaudhri was one of the main inventors of the original iPhone’s operating system and software. Originally from the United Kingdom, he worked at Apple for more than 20 years, contributing to the Mac, iPod, iPad, Apple Watch, iPhone and more. Chaudhri’s listed on thousands of Apple patents.

Bongiorno played a leadership role in the development of the iPad, and worked as director of software engineering for iOS and macOS projects.

Humane hired more than 140 employees, and almost half — at least 60 staffers — come from Apple. The Humane team also includes Ken Kocienda, an interface designer who developed the original iPhone’s software keyboard and autocorrect system. Humane is financed by millions of dollars from several big-name Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

After the iPhone: Humane’s Ai Pin

You call that an iPhone killer? See Humane’s first public demo.
Screens?!? We don’t need no stinkin’ screens!!”
Screenshot: Humane/TED Talks

The company’s first product is a screenless wearable that attaches to the user’s clothing, according to the release. It has a laser-projected display and promises to be always on, listening and watching everything the user experiences.

The press release continues:

The Humane Ai Pin is the screenless, standalone device and software platform built from the ground up for AI. The intelligent clothing-based wearable uses a range of sensors that enable natural and intuitive compute interactions and is designed to weave seamlessly into users’ day-to-day lives. The device is privacy-first, with aspects such as no wake word and therefore no ‘always on’ listening, reflecting Humane’s vision of building products which place trust at the center.

The Ai Pin will not need to pair with a smartphone or other companion device. A Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm will power the gadget.

“The complete functionalities of the Humane Ai Pin, the first built specifically to harness AI for the post-smartphone era of mobile computing, will be unveiled in full on November 9,” the company said, without specifying the venue for the launch.

The company appears intent on killing off the iPhone, according to a TED talk last year and a teaser commercial.

The teaser, reminiscent of Apple’s famous 1984 Superbowl ad, shows downtrodden users throwing off the shackles of smartphones and VR headsets in favor of a mysterious new device. The video does not show the device.

The ad drew some mild criticism for its hubris. It “has a Segway whiff of pointlessly heightened expectations to it,” wrote Harry McCracken, the global technology editor for Fast Company.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.