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Hackernoon logoAirPods “Hearable” — the future of IoT computing by@takny

AirPods “Hearable” — the future of IoT computing

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@taknyTack T.

AirPods — a new category of Wearables — Hearables (Source)
Apple AirPods may be much more important
than just a replacement of an old headphone
in term of the future IoT computing.

Apple AirPods are sold out worldwide.

This is a product perceived as a failure by some of the initial reviewers, mainly due to the high price tag ($159) and a ridiculous look (Hey, something sticking out from your ear). However, if you go to any apple store now, you won’t see them, because they are sold out*.

*There is a blog entry “How you get sold out AirPods without waiting for 6 weeks

Almost 10 years ago.

On June 28, 2007, Nokia was the top selling mobile-phone company in the world, Android phones didn’t exist, and BlackBerrys had their marketplaces. The next day, Apple’s first iPhone went on sale
We all know now how much impact iPhone had in our life since.

The product, not quite perfect yet.

When the first iPhone was introduced, the product had many limitations (no copy and paste, remember?) and it went through multiple iteration of improvements each year. 
The first AirPods also have some limitations (in fact, very limited for “Hearables”), like any other firsts. However, AirPods are clearly very important part of the future product category for Apple — enabling “voice-operated personal assistant”.

iPhone in your ear?

It is an intriguing fact that AirPods have more computing power than the first iPhone does (according to @BrianRoemmele)equivalent to 3 Cortex SoCs, all in such small enclosure.

1 Cortex SoCs in each ear piece and 1 in the base (Source)

The battle of the AI entry points

We all know that Amazon and Google are fighting crucial battle over voice recognition though the product like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Google Home vs Amazon Echo (Source)

Why? Because these products serve as entry points to collect more data into their respective Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) services. Apple enabled “Siri” on AppleTV to get into this battle field —Living room, but so far “Siri” hasn’t been called as much as “Alexa” does.

More it called, the better it become

It comes down to building the smartest AI engine by structuring the right model and feeding more data. The chances are the more people uses, the better the service (AI) become. Therefore, they are fighting to be the market leader — Amazon’s ‘Alexa’, Google’s ‘assistant’(no name yet), Apple’s ‘Siri’, or Microsoft ‘Cortana’ (yes, Microsoft also has it).

Being Hearables

AirPods have its place and advantage being a ‘Hearables’, somewhat closest to the operator (the human) compare to the other entry points — possibly providing the most seamless (natural) entry point to the AI. 
Apple understand the importance and is investing heavily on this.

Hearables — a potential to be the most natural UX for human interacting AIs (Source)
“We’re just at the beginning of a truly wireless future we’ve been working towards for many years. Where technology enables the seamless and automatic connection between you and your devices.”
— Jony Ive, Apple at the introduction of AirPods

The AI — becoming real

This train of thought, reminded me a movie — Her (2013). This movie futures, ‘Siri’ like voice-operated AI “personal assistant” — “Samantha”. This was one of the movies made me deeply think about how our “not so far” future of the communication between the human and Artificial Intelligence — the one that is truly intelligent, self-aware and creative kind.

Trailer — Her (2013) (Source)

For any SF fans like me, I highly recommend this movie, along with Ex Macina.

All it needs is a cloud connectivity.

Not to judge by the current capability of AirPods, but using the imagination to assess its potential, knowing all devices need, is to connect to the cloud (the source of unlimited computing resources),

AirPods maybe be the closest form factor device that enables the future of IoT computing —

Would you agree?

Always appreciate your feedback,
Tack T.

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