It’s a cliche to say that everything we own is “smart” and connected to the “Internet of Things” today, but it’s true. As if you needed any further proof that our smartphones can control literally anything, the Ember is set to prove it.
What is Ember, you ask? It’s a ceramic mug with a built-in battery-based heating system that keeps coffee warm without the whole oppressive lid thing. The trick is that instead of using your hands to manipulate the thing yourself, you can do it from the other side of the room with your smartphone or Apple Watch. The system allows you to sip on a cup of coffee that maintains the “perfect temperature from the first sip to the last drop” according to the product listing. In practice, that means the onboard heating system can regulate temperature for up to eight hours before you’ll need to place it on the rechargeable dock.
Surprisingly, its $80 price point makes it cheap compared to what Ember’s produced in the past. Their last smart mug retailed for $150 at Starbucks and sold like hotcakes. That’s why Ember CEO Clay Alexander likens their strategy to the “Tesla business model,” which involves selling something for an outlandishly expensive price to make the next iteration seem cheaper.
In terms of of the low-tech details, the ceramic mug can hold ten ounces of liquid and heat up to 145ºF. It’s “fully submersible” under water, but you’re probably safest washing the thing by hand.
It’s admittedly kind of cool that you can use your phone to keep a coffee warm, but whether or not it’s $80 cool is ultimately up to you. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you can always invest in a decent stainless steel travel mug to keep your coffee hot the old fashioned way.