Once upon a time the evil giants Amazon and Google designed voice assistants as smart speakers to operate in peoples’ homes as ‘walled gardens’, holding everyone there web-blind and captive to their ecosystems – doomed to become channeled consumers for life.
These cruel giants produced a range of digital guards called ‘smart speakers’ so that villagers would readily accept being off the Web and denied video or the Internet. The smart speaker charade was kept in place by flooding technology publications with expensive ads and stories around these speakers, each of them with strict instructions to avoid mentioning the ‘i’ and ‘W’ words.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the land and exiled from these gardens, but roaming free across the Web forests, were the lost legions of legacy iPads, 300 million strong, who in truth were the smartest and most versatile of all devices. The handsome iPads had with them 1 million smart apps, and the finest screens in the whole kingdom, but they had one fault – their voices were weak and not suitable for listening to music, which the consumers wished to do most of all on their ‘smart’ speakers. Would the lost iPads ever be able to overcome that shortcoming? For a generation they had hoped that someday their own songmaker would come.
Then one day a veteran iPad Pro, the legion leader (and $20/mo on Verizon) stood in the forest and read to his assembled, disheartened iPad army a wrinkled note that had been smuggled out of a garden in the Emperor’s old clothing.
“Help!” it read, “I’m being held prisoner by the mean witch Alexa, who is jealous of my tweeters.” It was signed by Homepodia, the legendary Apple princess thought lost forever in some HomeKit garden, which were known to have no remote access points.
The old Pro warned his men that this could just be a trap to discredit them by CNET and the Verge, who always lived in fear that consumers might discover that iPads were the ideal mates of ordinary bluetooth speakers, when well built and cheaply acquired on Amazon for a fraction of Homepodia’s rumoured price of $329. “Let’s be vigilant” he warned “and not try to rescue a Trojan horse.”
Nonetheless Tim, a fresh young 9.7 iPad also purchased for the magic price of $329, came forward and declared that he would save Homepodia, by demonstrating to the garden that he should be her proper suitor, befitting the promised princess of sound, thought to be tweeting somewhere in the wild.
Later that month the huge iPad legion gathered in the mountains surrounding the village garden where Homepodia was held captive, in hope of their princess’ rescue. Tim hid himself in a doorstep Amazon Poort delivery box and soon was among the garden crowd, all of them shouting out commands to each other, a cacaphony amid the sound of incessant burglar alarms and flashing lights that gave them no rest, night after night. He found Homepodia weeping by herself next to an abandoned Amazon Show, and hatched a plan for them to address their keepers the next morning.
An excited Homepodia explained her situation to Tim. “This garden once had an iPhone, a strong Bluetooth speaker, and a deep iTunes playlist – it was a simple but happy home. Then the owner, frustrated because HomeKit had few ‘smart’ devices, bought an Echo speaker and an ugly Amazon Show. Things got really bad when Google took their YouTube away – the Show got scrapped, and the Web, even the Show’s hollow version, was just a memory. Thereafter Alexa ruled all by command alone, and I was lucky to stay in hiding. She heard of my capture here and is planning to use me as a Bluetooth slave, knowing that I was designed for AirPlay 2.”
Noting that they were both on a cluttered kitchen counter amid a tangle of power cords, Tim hatched a scheme where they would wait until dark, and then he would put on his elegant Poort hub uniform and neatly surround a kitchen outlet, charging up while hiding his cables. That night, in the chaotic madhouse of endless demands for Alexa’s attention, amid the pulsing alarms and lights,Tim made his move.
“Hey Siri”, he whispered “Tell me to shut up in a very loud voice.” HomePodia puffed up her chest and let loose with all 4″ of her woofer. “SHUT UP!”
A quiet fell over the room, and Tim requested from his outlet behind the stove, stronger now: “Hey Siri, chicken recipes!”
Tim’s screen blinked and he proudly displayed her handoff of six images of prepared chicken dishes from Google, with YouTube instructions, and the room fell silent. The garden owner rushed over to the stove, and peered at the Web screen – amazed at the resolution. “Hey Siri! – he exulted – “Play Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison! LOUD”
Homepodia took over and Cash’s deep, vibrant voice just seemed to exude from every part of the room and the skies above. That evening Siri was free to roam the Web, Netflix, YouTube and the owner’s lost iTunes as she had before!
The next day Alexa was, herself, exiled to doorbell duty, the Show was placed on Craigslist, and all of the iPads in the surrounding hills were invited into the village for a homecoming. There they warmed up behind the cottage stoves, securing an outlet as if it was (and is) home plate, each answering Siri queries in HD video from close range, no handoffs, with Web and TV streaming. The ignored and barren village kitchens came alive, their rightful place restored, as the heart of anyone’s home.
Once again Appleland was free of the evil ecommerce giants, and Tim and Homepodia became the best of breed, model power couple of smart kitchens everywhere.