Joanna Stern’s Humane AI Pin (Mini) Review

Not even worth a full column, just a 90-second social media video. Or “vid”, if you will.

She points out that Humane only offers a website — no apps — for accessing your captured photos, videos, and notes. I totally get why Humane designed the AI Pin as a standalone device, not a phone peripheral (like Apple Watch or AirPods are) — Apple can make such peripherals do whatever they want because Apple can make the iPhone do whatever they want. (Which, yes, is the wrongheaded foundation of much of the DOJ’s antitrust complaint against Apple.) “If you want things done right, do it yourself” is always true advice.

But not making iPhone or Android apps for interacting with Humane’s back-end is just pure stubbornness. Humane cofounder Bethany Bongiorno is swearing up and down, now, that “ai pin is not about replacing your smartphone”, but their Change Everything teaser film from July 2022 — about which I had some thoughts — positioned it as the successor to the phone. The no-screen thing is just stubborn, and the website-but-no-apps thing is stubborn too. If they had an app it could put photos and videos shot with the AI Pin right in your library, for one thing. Imagine if Nest thermostats — also created by ex-Apple folks — didn’t have apps. Who would buy one?

(My closer on that teaser video from July 2022: “Sometimes a dead canary is just a dead canary, and sometimes a dud ad is just a dud ad, but I’d check the Humane mine for methane just in case.”)

Friday, 12 April 2024