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With the rise of ChatGPT and large language models (LLMs), AI-dedicated devices have started coming out. The Humane AI pin was widely lambasted earlier this month when it launched, and now the Rabbit r1 AI assistant is out. With rumors that Apple is delving into AI in a big way, we thought we'd check out the Rabbit r1 to see what it can do and how it measures up to an iPhone.


Priced at $200, the Rabbit is a square-shaped pocket assistant that can answer questions, look up information, interface with food delivery and ride sharing services, play music, translate languages, and more. It's a cute little device that looks right at home with the Playdate from Panic, but most of what it can do can already be done with an iPhone.

Unlike the Humane AI Pin, the Rabbit r1 has a screen that you can interact with, which makes it much more functional. It comes with an old school scroll wheel for navigating the UI, and there's a built-in camera for recognizing objects. It is Wi-Fi only by default, but you can add a SIM card, which is an added cost.

rabbit-r1-time.jpg

As a first-generation device, the r1 isn't perfect. The setup process is bare bones without tips on how to use the device or what it's able to do. You'll almost certainly need to visit the website to figure out how to use it if you pick one of these up, so it could do with some on-device instruction to make using it smoother. There are, for example, hidden controls like shaking the device to get to the settings, and the settings are the only way to activate the terminal for typing.

The idea with the Rabbit r1 is to be less reliant on a smartphone, so there's no app for it. That's kind of a hassle if you want to get to the photos and other information that you've stored on it, because it's only accessible through the Rabbit Hole website.

You can hook up services like Spotify, but it's not super smart about suggesting songs. Asking it to play liked songs, for example, resulted in random song selections. The option to translate works well, but it can be slow, and it's tough to get to.

rabbit-r1-settings.jpg

In some tests, ordering food was successful, but not without hiccups. We didn't test placing an order ourselves, but YouTuber Quinn Nelson did and the AI placed the order but didn't ask for guidance on a tip and ended up being overly generous and tipping the highest suggested amount.

The Rabbit r1 can summarize documents, a task that it's decent at, but that's not really something that a smartphone can't do. It is good at recognizing what's around through the camera, but some things, like a classic Mac, did trip it up.

We need to spend more time testing the Rabbit r1, but so far, it seems like a neat device but also an unnecessary one that isn't quite ready to replace a smartphone. Have an opinion on the r1? Let us know in the comments below.

Article Link: Hands-On With the Rabbit r1 Pocket AI Assistant
 
Dec 4, 2022
693
1,273
A solution looking for a problem.

You don’t understand the genius behind the GenAI device era.

The makers believe you will never read your documents so you need a bot to summarize them.

The makers believe you don’t know what’s in front of the camera so you need the rabbit to tell you what’s in front of the camera.

Users are just stupid things who hand over money and let the rabbit thing do all the thinking.

That’s the business model with AI.
 

IIGS User

macrumors 65816
Feb 24, 2019
1,104
3,085
They’re pushing AI to far out into the public too fast. Like Oldsmobile Diesel engines in the 80’s.

People who don’t understand technology will start using this and think it stinks. Because, at least right now, it does.

The damage will be done and it’ll take years to bounce back from it. Which is probably good from a macro standpoint because it will give the law and humanity time to catch up before the technology graduates to “Skynet” levels of sophistication….
 

Marx55

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2005
1,925
758
The perfect device for people who want to live a phone-free life is a smartwatch. But not the Apple Watch. It is a truly standalone (does not require any other device for anything, including setup, although I would accept it if it required a Mac; I do NOT want to own a standard smartphone, not even for free!) and has a telescopic rotating retractable camera, protected from dust and sweat when hidden in what seems the crown neck. Besides, the telescopic camera is a great safety and privacy bonus, since it is only visible and active when you extract it manually.

It is like a miniaturized smartwatch with all its capabilities. You carry it in your wrist and do not notice it. Your hands and mind are free. You do not lose it. Not even thieves look for it. You can sleep with it and use a vibrating alarm to not disturb others when needed.

Amazingly, it costs about 100 USD ($), although I would buy one for ~1,000 from Apple if they made it as well. Unfortunately, they do not do it yet. But at least I have the cheaper one.

One last word. It is really amazing. It has changed my life!
 
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kiensoy

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2008
499
2,205
For the price it seems like a fun gadget to try out. I would have it at my desk mostly, for asking things since Siri is useless.
 
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rorschach

macrumors 68020
Jul 27, 2003
2,286
1,931
Turns out it’s really hard to beat the smartphone paradigm. Smartphones are super portable with lots of size options, unobtrusive, always on, always connected, and can do tons of different tasks. I can connect them to other devices and connect other devices to them. Not to say that eventually something won’t replace them, but that hasn’t been invented yet.
 

Makosuke

macrumors 604
Aug 15, 2001
6,686
1,294
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Everything “new” tech thing lately is something a smart phone could do but worse.
This.

Special-purpose devices are neat in concept, but here in the real world everyone has a smartphone and you either need to offer something additional that a phone can't, or (if you're a big-dreamer) a spectacularly compelling reason to carry your thing instead of a phone. If everything your device does can be done more or less as well by a smartphone app, then it has absolutely no reason to exist.

This thing is neat, sure, but... it's basically a smartphone app with a more-limited UI wrapped in expensive hardware? Why on earth would you buy it and carry it around?

The Humane pin is actually trying to replace your phone entirely, but based on reviews is many iterations away from being anywhere near able to do that, if it ever will, so in reality it's doing functionally what an app on a phone can, except much worse.

Smartwatches are an example of something in this general category that does succeed, because they do offer something the phone doesn't--health monitoring, time, silent and quick notifications on your arm--and it's designed for use in situations (jogging, swimming) where you genuinely don't want to or physically can't carry your phone.

Dedicated cameras are another example--a decent modern phone is enough camera for the large majority of people, but if you really want or need more (quality, lens variety, zoom, etc.), there's a reason to buy and carry a camera that isn't part of a phone.
 

roar08

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2008
694
1,872
Respect for anyone attempting to design and manufacture consumer electronics. However, this product is misguided and unnecessary. It's probably interesting to use for a few days but that's it. DOA.

Edit: I just watched (well, skimmed) the keynote, the quality of which perfectly sums up this device.
 
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victorvictoria

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2023
541
623
Really? Looks and sounds like something marketed to AARP members who can't operated their computers or smartphones. (disclaimer: I'm 73 YO). I'll wait for Apple to incorporate it in my next iPhone so I can use it with the Apple Watch, HomeKit, and Apple TV.
 
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