Home Gadgets TinyPod Apple Watch case could beat Rabbit R1 and Humane AI

TinyPod Apple Watch case could beat Rabbit R1 and Humane AI

In a matter of two months, hopes for the Rabbit R1 and Humane AI devices crashed and burned. They presented radical new form factors and promised to break our addiction to screens but when we finally got our hands on them, they were totally busted. Some people, however, aren’t ready to let go of the idea of a gadget that offers app functionality without the allure of a big bright screen. What if I told you the answer has been staring us in the face?

The TinyPod’s pitch is simple: It’s a case for the Apple Watch that allows you to navigate the menus with a click-wheel that’s reminiscent of the old-school iPod. The worst part of the Apple Watch is using the digital crown to do your bidding and who doesn’t love a click-wheel?

Simply put, this goes a long way to making the Apple Watch a more attractive option as the only device you carry with you. It’s not as interesting to look at as the Rabbit R1 or have the cool laser projector that the Humane pin offers, but the watch does what it promises and it works.

Unfortunately, it’s still an Apple Watch. Millions of people wear them and still don’t feel compelled to leave their phones behind. But that could change next month.

Apple’s WWDC event is expected to be all about integrating the latest AI features into its devices. On Sunday, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple has been meeting with Google and OpenAI about a potential partnership to integrate one of their chatbots into iOS 18. Apple isn’t giving up on its own in-house AI products, but it recognizes those two companies are ahead in the chatbot space.

Then, on Thursday, The Information reported that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has officially secured a deal with Apple that’s potentially worth billions of dollars. This was kind of shocking. Google has a long-standing relationship with Apple and pays the Cupertino giant billions of dollars per year to be the default search engine in Safari. What’s more, Apple’s primary rival Microsoft has a huge stake in OpenAI.

This is all to say that we’re probably going to see ChatGPT integration in Apple products soon and that could mean a much more powerful Apple Watch. Rabbit and Humane both claimed to have their own solutions built into those products but the reality is that ChatGPT was still the AI backbone. And then neither product worked.

The Apple Watch is capable of doing most of what these AI devices promise and there’s no reason it can’t do more in the future. Sure, you can call an Uber with the Rabbit R1 while the ride-share company pulled its app from the Apple Watch in 2022. But Rabbit’s location tracking is so busted that there’s no reason to believe the car you order will arrive anywhere near you. If Apple can make its watch more useful (and truly fix Siri), we could see devs jumping to make apps for it.

This doesn’t mean the TinyPod is about to be the next big thing. We know very little about it outside of the fact that it has a good idea and nice looking design. The company’s website features no information outside of its tagline and “coming this summer.” No matter, others are working on a similar idea. Cake is an Apple Watch case that looks a lot like a smaller version of the Rabbit R1, complete with a spinning wheel. And of course, Apple could just make their own fresh cases if this is behavior they want to encourage.

I’m just spit-balling here, but something tells me Apple would like to continue selling billions of iPhones, so it may be slow to make its watch more versatile. I don’t think these AI devices were ever going to be a smartphone replacement. I’d just be happy to keep my phone in a bag or leave it in the car until it’s totally necessary. A TinyPod in my pocket sounds great.

A version of this article originally appeared on Gizmodo.

 

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