Why I don’t get the Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1, especially after the Apple Intelligence nail on their coffin


It’s fair to say that dedicated AI “companion” devices like the (theoretically) popular Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1 won’t last.

The reasons are many, but a major nail on their coffin would be Apple’s mostly-on-device AI update for Siri, that’s coming later this year, plus the other major brands bringing similar, albeit less privacy-oriented features, such as Google and its Gemini AI.

But the aforementioned dedicated AI devices got me thinking about the actually upsetting future we’d be heading towards, if they were to succeed. And I’m happy it won’t happen, even if I am normally supportive of new mobile devices and form factors. Here’s why…

Are you willing to pay for your AI service for life? Nope? I’m shocked… Apple just changed the game, in terms of both privacy and cost

To be fair – AI services like ChatGPT are very costly to develop and run. Millions of people send requests to ChatGPT from all sorts of devices and apps, not just its dedicated website.

With Apple striking a deal with ChatGPT, and integrating it into its iPhones, iPads and Macs, the number of ChatGPT users will only get significantly higher.

All of the necessary server processing power needed to complete such requests for the AI to function cost a lot of money, and with that in mind, paying a monthly subscription fee for using it, like the Humane AI Pin creators expect you to, makes sense.

In addition, generative AI such as OpenAI’s DALL-E, or the popular alternative Midjourney require even more processing power, which gets outsourced to such server farms too, somewhere.

The thing is, even though Apple will use OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E, it won’t have you paying monthly for those services, because the crafty trillion-dollar fruit-logo company won’t end up paying for them either.

At least not in any monetary value, but apparently – in “exposure.”

Apple will not even use OpenAI’s systems exclusively, but lean on its own on-device Apple Intelligence, and switch to ChatGPT only for the more complicated tasks.

It’s curious, Apple and OpenAI’s partnership, but the bottom line is – the users win – no subscription fees, and better privacy, as most AI requests will happen on our iPhones, iPads and Macs, as their M-processors are evidently capable enough to handle them.

So why in the world would a subscription-based AI device like the Humane AI Pin be anyone’s first choice, or a choice at all?

Dedicated AI devices that keep you away from your phone – great concept, but we’re not there yet. By the way, Meta’s RayBan glasses have existed for a while, arguably doing this idea better

So in concept – I get it. I don’t get the Rabbit R1 device whatsoever, but I do get the Humane AI Pin’s selling point perfectly, and was really excited for it.It’s something you attach to your clothing that you can summon, ask questions, ask for directions, and get AI responses from, plus it has a projector that can display things on the palm of your hand, if you need visual results. Good stuff!

Unfortunately, as you likely already know, the promises didn’t match what we really got. The two AI devices in question received some of the most negative reviews I’ve ever seen any devices get.

They just didn’t do what people expected them to, they failed to answer quickly enough (as they don’t do most requests on-device, but need to connect to OpenAI’s servers constantly), and often gave bad answers, and even more scary – wrong directions and traffic advice.

So you’re expected to pay a lot for the Humane AI Pin device, plus a monthly subscription fee, for an experience that just frustrates you and has you reaching for your phone, which can do whatever you need quicker and easier.

Or are you? Are there any other options out there, hiding, due to lesser exposure to the public eye?

Well yes – here’s the thing – dedicated AI devices have existed before the Rabbit R1 and Humane AI Pin became notorious in the tech space.

Meta’s RayBan smart glasses are a perfect example – just nice sunglasses with built-in speakers, camera, and the Meta AI inside.

Sure, they’re not a standalone device, and need your phone, but that’s a good thing – your phone is already perfect at everything, and has all of your notifications on it. So you don’t need to deal with an alternative device that lacks your apps, so it doesn’t get all of your notifications, and requires its own separate cellular plan, or a subscription.

In turn, I’m having a really, really hard time understanding how the Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1 are even in the tech zeitgeist, still. We already have tons of better, cheaper, and more polished options, and alternative, better, free, on-device AI services like Apple Intelligence are just around the corner.

I guess this whole tale is yet another lesson for us not to immediately jump on the bandwagon when a new technology arrives, but cautiously wait a couple of months for it to mature. The big brands will inevitably jump on it, and make it better for the consumer in every way.

It’s definitely a good thing to support startups and their vision, but always watch out for misleading marketing tricks, and don’t let the hype trick you into, most deplorably, any subscription services.

What are your thoughts on dedicated AI devices? Short-lived fad, or something you use, and enjoy?

Share your thoughts – are you using a device like that, and are you finding it useful? Alternatively, are you more excited to see where Apple Intelligence and Google Gemini will take us and our mobile devices this year?

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