This scary-smart speaker changes everything
Designed to play exactly what you want to hear — without prompting — as soon as you turn it on, the Cone from Aether Things is a WiFi-enabled "thinking" speaker with integrated hardware and software that learns over time what and when you like to listen to particular genres, creating a device that's fully personalized to your lifestyle and tastes. It's basically your new Spotify butler.
Just announced (get on the list to be one of the first owners here), it looks like the gorgeous lovechild of a Jambox and a megaphone. To turn it on, simply twist the outer edge of the speaker end, and it'll start playing something — artist/album/song, radio station, or podcast — and if you're not into it just hit the center button, tell it what you want to play, and boom, you got it.
All the while it's paying attention to everything in the background, like when you crank the volume (that counts as a "thumbs up"), where you are (it can detect different rooms), and even what time it is. Eventually it'll adapt to your schedule. Listen to NPR early on Monday mornings in your bedroom? Wake up to that. Bumping around to Jay-Z on Friday nights before you go out? Pregame away.
It works right out of the box and doesn't need to be synced with anything, but there is a complementary app to control playback and audio selection remotely without needing to directly speak to the device.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor for Supercompressor. He's still a little uneasy about talking to electronics.