Humane’s Ai Pin Could Break From Sweat, Mist, or Condensation
Guess you’re not using the Ai Pin by the pool, at the beach, or in the rain.
Before general preorders for Humane’s hyped Ai Pin open up on November 16, there’s one detail you should know before you buy: the smartphone-replacing, laser-projecting, AI-talking wearable isn’t waterproof.
According to a Humane support page: “For optimal performance, your Ai Pin and power accessories should not be exposed to water.” An earlier version of the page reportedly offered more details according to Reddit user r/jackylegz42. “This includes condensation, splashing, mist, and perspiration. Doing so would risk damage to your device and may void your warranty.” Humane seems to have removed the reference, though.
You would think a device that’s designed to be worn — on your chest — where you sweat (apologies if you don’t) would have liquid protection, but it apparently doesn’t? Humane doesn’t list any kind of IP rating for the Ai Pin, which does suggest that the device isn’t protected against liquids or moisture, or has very little of it. The lack of an IP rating could also mean the Ai Pin has no dust resistance as well; there’s nothing on Humane’s site that claims it is.
If it’s true that the Ai Pin can be damaged from perspiration or mist, you can bet good money there will be backlash. It’s also going to limit where you can use the Ai Pin, certainly not by a pool, at the beach, or in the rain. Pretty much all smartphones have some kind of IP rating for water and dust resistance, and if not any official IP rating, then some kind of unofficial splash resistance. “It doesn't rain in California,” joked one Reddit user. “It should be at least water resistant so you won't worry during outdoor in rainy season,” said another Redditor.
A $699 price tag (for the all-black version; $799 for the other two colors) on a device that has no screen and no apps (for better or worse) that’s also not sealed against water might be a tough sell. For the same money, you could get an iPhone 14 with an IP68 rating.
Don’t get me wrong: the Ai Pin is still wildly exciting to me and, like Google Glass, I can’t wait to try it out. But more and more of its shortcomings are starting to bubble up which gives me pause. Like the fact that you can’t transfer your existing phone number to the Ai Pin; you’ll need a new one. Or the fact that the AI in the device’s Cosmos operating system (built on top of Android) returned two incorrect answers in the product’s launch video. Maybe these are just first-gen quibbles that will be corrected in the second version, but something as simple as water resistance feels like table stakes for a gadget this expensive.