Apple AirPods are to IoT what iPhone was to cellphones

The arrival of the AirPod is going to change the way we interact with computers, and it will merge the physical world around us with a virtual augmented world

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In the world of IoT (internet of things) Apple AirPods are the best things since sliced bread.

That may sound a bit of an exaggeration. It may sound like fanboy talk to untrained eyes, but for those of us who've been monitoring progress in virtual reality, augmented reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and IoT can clearly see how AirPods are going to change the world around us.

So far, the IoT that we see is a lousy and pathetic effort by hardware vendors who are exploiting the buzzword to sell more hardware with IoT sugar-coating around them. I call them pseudo-IoT devices. They are not solving any problems or creating any real value for users. IoT fridge? IoT webcam? IoT thermostat? IoT bulbs? IoT microwave? Give me a break.

These vendors have failed to see the immense potential of IoT and have created more or less dumb devices that are extremely insecure and are connected to the internet, posing serious risks to users.

First of all, IoT is not a new concept, it's an evolution of embedded devices. The arrival of public cloud and machine learning has enabled companies to go beyond the hardware and software limitations of embedded devices. Your tiny IoT devices have the brains of massive supercomputers, and they can store and access terabytes of data through public or open source private cloud. It can do wonders that were not possible earlier.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are devices that are doing complex work, but they need better automation and can benefit greatly from cloud-based machine learning and artificial intelligence to make better decisions and offer better services. Cars like Tesla are a good example of IoT on wheels. Drones are good examples of IoT with wings. But these are niche and special cases; they are not the ubiquitous omnipresent IoT device.

That's where AirPods enter the picture. That's how IoT is done in the consumer space. I have been using the AirPods for more than two weeks now and I can see their immense potential. It was actually Apple Watch that brought IoT closer to our lives in a very subtle manner. It has all the advantages of the IoT world and none of its weaknesses.

The arrival of the AirPod is going to change the way we interact with computers. It will change the way we access, process and generate information. It will go beyond that and merge the physical world around us with a virtual augmented world.

AirPod is the first baby step in that direction.

Ever since I got my AirPods, I have never carried my iPhone in my pocket while I am at home or in the office. As long as I am within the Bluetooth range of my iPhone, I don't need it in my pocket.

AirPods aren't mere headphones to listen to music. They are the gateway to my digital life. I can invoke Siri with a double tap and then ask the time, check the weather, check appointments, send messages, ask questions and listen to music on the go.

This is just the beginning.

I feel smartphones are placeholders until real IoT happens. AirPods are the first devices in the direction of computers implanted into our bodies, and they're the first devices in the direction of removing the bulky, placeholders like iPhones. Why should we have to type when we seek information? Why not just ask for it verbally, just the way we do in the real world with our friends and colleagues?

That's exactly what AirPods do. That said, audio is not enough, we also need a visual medium. We still need some kind of display to see content, and that's where Virtual Reality plus Augmented reality comes into the picture.

From what I know, the anniversary edition of the iPhone will bring some interesting AR/VR experience. Apple has led the world -- from MacOS, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and now AirPod. I can see that Apple is the one company that will crack the AR/VR code, and then the rest of the industry will follow.

As a science fiction writer, I can see the future within my grasp where we will be wearing AirPods and AirGlass (much better than Google Glass) devices that will open a whole new world. Imagine never having to pull your phone out to do work -- or imagine never having to carry a phone. Imagine walking into a store, and the price and features of the items automatically show up in your visual interface and sound bits are spoken into your ear.

However, it may not be Apple that will dominate the IoT world. IoT is all about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and what you can do with it. I feel it will be Google, with its most advanced machine learning and artificial capabilities with a massive ecosystem of applications and services, that will dominate the world.

But I'm not concerned about who's going to dominate the market. I'm more excited about the technology and experience. That's where we are heading with AirPods. They are the first generation of true consumer IoT devices. This is the first technological game-changing product since the iPad, and most people have no clue how it's going to turn their world upside down.

So, all hail to the first born of the IoT. All hail to the AirPods.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.