SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA — In a stunning series of revelations that turned the tech world on its head, a trio of tech giants announced plans for a smart toaster. Apple, Microsoft, and Google held launch parties this weekend for a series of new devices. This brave reporter attended all three.
Let’s take a look.
Apple, Microsoft, and Google reveal smart toasters
At their kickoff party, Apple unveiled a prototype iToaster, a “revolutionary new device that will forever change the way we see slightly burnt bread”, according to an industry insider.
I caught up with a twentysomething hipster who – I assume – is a reporter for a tech magazine (which are, increasingly, not really magazines.) “This iToaster is buttery smooth,” he said, his eyes slightly glossy. “Never gets jammed. Compared to this everything else is crummy. And man, is my old toaster toast.” When asked to lay off the bad puns, he added, “I’ll never imagine how I lived before this device. The form factor is gorgeous, the software is brilliant, and the battery life is incredible. And the 4G connectivity is lightning fast.” When asked to lay off the tired clichés, he was not able to tell me anything further.
When asked why a toaster would need 4G, an Apple insider declined to comment.
He did, however, comment on the design of the iToaster, which looks rather like my toaster but has an Apple logo on the front (this tends to drive up prices threefold.) “There are exactly two controls on this device: a lever and a knob. So we’re trying as hard as we can to make them as awe-inspiring as possible. We’ve taken our Aqua UI – you know, those super-glossy buttons, brushed metal backgrounds, slick animations, et cetera that you see on iPhones and Macs – and ported it to real life.” And, indeed, the iToaster has glossy, shiny, and oh-so-touchable controls.
“We’re also working on porting Siri to iToaster,” confirmed an Apple insider. “The only command she responds to right now is ‘Make toast’ but we’re working on it.”
“This changes everything,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “Yet again.”
Across the street at the Microsoft launch party, CEO Steve Ballmer was working his hardest to make the Windows Toaster 8 look as “cool” as possible: hired bands, gaudy colors, and throngs of reporters.
I caught up with a Microsoft engineer who demoed the Windows Toaster 8. “Yeah, in keeping with our Modern UI you see in Windows 8, we’ve been working really hard to ensure that the toast comes out as square and monochrome as possible. We’re also trying to make ‘Live Tiles’ – that is, we burn an image into the toast and ensure that it changes every half second to make sure you’re paying attention.” He further added that this will boost Windows 8 sales tenfold. “Not that they’re too high to begin with.”
Things were not all happy at Microsoft labs in Redmond, however. The engineer lamented the difficulty of creating such a device. “The input/output system is weird: you put in bread, and you get out toast. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The only thing more difficult than coding it was trying to explain it to our user base – most of whom find the whole concept rather challenging.”
“We plan to have 90,000 apps on the Windows Toaster store by tomorrow,” proclaimed a confident Microsoft executive. I checked on my iToaster – which the guys at Apple let me borrow for the day – and realized that it couldn’t do anything. I checked the store on my smartphone and found exactly 6 apps. “There are more coming,” promised the now-diffident executive.
Outside I met a Microsoft representative who offered to swap his Windows Toaster with my iToaster to prove that the Windows one made better toast. Seeing as I’d probably be in a commercial, I accepted.
And boy, was the toast bad.
Google‘s launch party was a bit toned down. “Unveiling our latest product, Google Toast,” announced a Google software engineer in a sparse room crammed with reporters who, apparently, have nothing better to do with their lives.
They didn’t give me any demos to play with so I can’t report much about it. It seems I’ll have to enter a competition – tell Google what you plan to do with Google Toast – in order to win one.
The PR employee I spoke to was rather frustrated. “People are telling me they’d use Google Toast to cure cancer or propose marriage,” she said. “Why can’t they just make toast with it?”
Since Google has bought something someone else made and just rebranded it (again), they’ve already got two versions out the door: v1.0 – codenamed Bagel – and v1.5 “Coffee.” They’re also planning future releases codenamed “Donut” and “English Muffin.”
“It’s a lot harder to think up breakfast foods than desserts,” complained a Google employee.
Developers promise new apps
App makers are also elated by the release of this new platform. I met with Foursquare designers who think this is an excellent opportunity. “Only we’d have to rename ourselves Twosquare or something,” said an executive.
Hot startup Dropbox also touted the potential of the platform. “Haven’t you ever wanted to sync your toast between work and home? Think about it! You make toast at home and it magically appears at work!” When asked, I remarked that I never thought I would need this feature, but now that it’s been described I just have to have it.
Facebook was also rather pleased. “Your friends deserve to know what kind of breakfast food you had this morning – toast? bagel? English muffin? Curious minds – especially those at our data mining center – want to know!” remarked CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“And since we collect all of your data, we’ll know if you’re a lousy toast maker, and if you are we’ll serve you personalized ads for toast making classes,” he added.
After that, Mr. Zuckerberg muttered something about privacy settings.
Rovio, creators of the hit series Angry Birds, confirmed rumors that they are porting their popular casual game to the smart toaster. “Push down the lever and release and you can send your toast – your bird – flying across the room,” they said in a release. “Just pretend your friend’s coffee cup is the pig.”
After attending these various parties I realized how woefully inadequate my current toaster is. Like my computer, phone, tablet, and TV, it should be able to tell me the time, let me search the internet, and help me waste the 2 minutes of my life I spend daily using the toaster.
This revolutionary new technology is really shocking both industry insiders and users. This is big. It’s bold. And it’s coming to a countertop near you.
I’ll next be working on a series of reviews of smart toasters – the iToaster, Windows Toaster 8, and Google Toast – as well as hot apps for all of the platforms. Stay tuned.
And remember that you heard this breaking news first from hathix.com.
Oh, and April Fools.
Legal note: all copyrights property of their respective owners. And all the news here is fake. No one has any plans for a smart toaster or apps for it. I apologize to Apple, Microsoft, Google, and anyone else I made fun of.