By Amy Chew
CUPERTINO, Calif. — Canines around the world howled with glee on Friday as Apple introduced the first smartcollar for dogs, a device expected to make fundamental changes in the relationship between dogs and people.
Loaded with more high-tech wizardry than an aircraft carrier, the iCollar will allow dogs to purchase food themselves and to schedule veterinary appointments on their own, effectively making dog owners obsolete.
“This is about giving dogs control over their own lives,” said Apple Chief Timothy D. Cook. “It’s about letting them spay and neuter themselves, letting them go for walks when they want to, and letting them monitor their own health by tracking everything from fleas to heartworm to hip dysplasia.”
The iCollar, essentially a wearable supercomputer, exploits a sluggish canine market starved for new products in the wake of falling demand for flavored chew toys. Cook said that there would be three versions of the new dog collar: iCollar Plus, iCollar Heat (for females), and iCollar Stud (for males). The Heat and Stud models will allow dogs to screen potential sexual partners for diseases and personality disorders, and to do so remotely, without embarrassing questions or the awkward sniffing of genitals.
All three collars have an app called iPoop, which arranges for the automatic collection and disposal of feces; and another app called iPee, which intercepts urine before it hits the ground and converts it into vitamin-enriched drinking water.
“You people can’t imagine what this collar means to us,” a bull terrier from rural Idaho said to a human reporter at the Flint Center in Cupertino, where the product was introduced. “Ever since the domestication of the grey wolf 25,000 years ago, we dogs have been living like…well, like dogs. It’s been a humiliating phase, but it’s now over. No more idiotic sitting, shaking and rolling over at the earnest command of some bobble-headed owner/human.”