A YouTube video surfaced Monday that sheds some light on one of the more interesting technology startups in recent memory. It’s called Humane, based in San Francisco and founded by heavy hitters from Apple.
It doesn’t have a product yet, but in its five years of existence, it has amassed 140 employees, including more than 60 at Apple.
And its patent applications and other clues, outlined in Sam Schaefer’s video below, suggest the company hopes to change how the world interacts with technology. In part, this may be through remarkable wearables that ease the burden of addictive gadgetry like the iPhone.
After the iPhone: Mysterious tech startup Humane takes aim at wearables that mix tech with your life
On his YouTube channel, Sam Schaefer describes himself as “an independent multi-platform content creator, creator, entertainer, host, YouTuber and technologist”. He “Worked in Tech Media from 2009 – 2017” Engadget, ledgeAnd Mashable,
He posted a 21-minute video on Monday titled “What comes after the iPhone?” This is essentially everything he could know about Humane. This includes theories about what products its employees, full of former Apple employees, are building. You can watch it below.
“What happens when 60 former Apple employees come together to start a new kind of tech company?” asks for his description of the video. “In this video, I tell you everything about this secret technology startup, what I think they’re building, and why I think they’re about to change the world.”
Founded by Apple Giants
Schaefer describes and inserts quotes from the founders of Humane, calling them the “power couple” who left Apple in 2016 when they jointly presented messaging updates to iOS 10 at WWDC.
Half of that pair is Imran Choudhary, a designer, inventor and innovator who has spent more than 20 years at Apple. He worked on Macintosh, iPod, iPad, Apple Watch and iPhone. But he is best known for inventing the user interface and interaction of the iPhone. He is named as an inventor on thousands of patents.
“His work defines how the world interacts with technology, and is inspired by his insistence on putting the human experience front and center in the design process,” states the biographical page on the Humane website.
While at Apple, Chowdhary met the other half, Bethany Bongiorno, who led the product teams. She became director of software engineering for the iOS and macOS projects. He took a leadership role in the launch of the original iPad in 2002.
“Together, Imran and Bethany envision a future that is even more intelligent and even more personal, and committed to building the human world not as it exists today but as it may be tomorrow.” ,” the bio page says. “Rethinking, rethinking and remembering the honest human connection in the context of computing, they seek to reshape the role of technology in our lives.”
lofty mission statement
It certainly doesn’t tell you much about what to expect as real-world products. And neither does the company’s impressively lofty mission statement:
We believe in creating innovative technology that feels familiar, natural and human.
Technology that improves the human experience and is born out of good intentions.
Products that bring us back in touch with ourselves, each other, and the world around us.
Experiences that are built on trust and interact with that feel magical, and bring joy.
Humans are the next shift between humans and computing.
Best human experience ever.
420 Apple employees with 60 years of experience
Citing a few key people, Schaefer gave an overview of 60 employees who moved from Apple to Humane.
These include a camera product engineer who spent a decade at Apple and is now Humane’s director of camera technologies. The startup’s chief technology officer spent 13 years in Cupertino, working on iCloud, iMessage and FaceTime. Schaefer named a few others, each of whom had more than a decade of experience with Apple in leading roles.
“Humanitarians have to be working on something really extraordinary to be able to hunt down that many former Apple employees. Five, 10 even 15 people, okay, but they hired dozens,” Schaefer said. “I actually ran the numbers, these 60 former Apple employees have spent a combined 420 years at the company.”
But not everyone in Humane comes from Apple. Others came from companies like Google, Intel, HP and Lyft.
Interesting trademark and patent applications
Schaefer next spends time in the video on Humane’s trademark and patent applications.
But first, he ignited curiosity with some likeable Choudhary commentary along the lines of freeing people from their smartphone addiction:
“Our relationships with our devices now exceed the density of information that people have to grapple with on a daily basis,” Chowdhury says in a clip from an interview. “And that’s exactly what we’re doing, it means restoring that balance, making it so the devices are no longer a burden. But they’re really what they’re intended to do. And that’s making you feel superhuman. To get it done, not to be a slave.”
And the following quote really cuts to the chase, from the guy who helped make the iPhone this, but seems ready to walk away with it:
“The final interface with computing is the one that completely disappears. When that completely disappears, we turn back to humanity. And that’s when everything seems to be sorted out in the right way,” Chowdhary said in another interview.
They also shed a little light on the trademarks Humane wants to protect. They range from visuals, such as spelling names in company URLs, hu.ma.ne, to phrases such as “the future is not in your face.”
An image of Patent Application 2, below, shows a thermostat projected onto the user’s hand.
At least 2 hardware products
But it is the patent application that gives the best sense of what is human. At least two hardware products with ties to cloud computing and AI are represented.
The first few patent applications below pertain to wearable devices with wireless battery packs that can magnetically attach to your clothing. It may have a laser-projection system, a wide angle camera with optical image stabilization, a depth sensor, several other sensors, GPS memory, a processor and a microphone. The hardware connects to the cloud computing platform.
The device appears to be there to detect everything around you, helping you contextualize, store, and sort data, making it available to you in ways other than accessing your iPhone. May be Voice commands, gestures and touch controls can all come in handy in calling up laser-projected information via artificial intelligence.
Another device depicted in patent applications appears to be a wearable that helps women keep track of their menstrual cycles. This system can help couples improve their chances of conceiving or avoid pregnancy and can assist with women’s health issues.
Check Patent Applications:
- Wearable multimedia devices and cloud computing platforms with application ecosystem
- Cloud computing platform with wearable multimedia device and last projection system
- Portable battery pack for wirelessly charging body-worn devices via clothing
- Systems and tools for fertility and hormonal cycle awareness
“I think it’s fair to say that humans are taking a radical approach to building technologies that are meant to enhance the human experience, not detract from it,” Schaefer said, also noting that they Don’t know when a product from Humane might appear.