The big metal fire box in the middle of your kitchen hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years. Some convection fans here, some LED displays there, but otherwise, the trusty range remains largely untouched by the increasingly connected march of technology.
The June Intelligent Oven wants to be the biggest game-changer in the kitchen since the microwave oven. Created by a team that brought the iPhone, the FitBit, the GoPro, and Lyft to market, the June Intelligent Oven is the first oven that can see what you’re trying to cook, then do it for you, no matter how clueless you are in the kitchen.
“Technologically, there hasn’t been much innovation in the kitchen since the 1970s,” says June co-founder Matt van Horn. “The kitchens in Mad Men are virtually identical to the ones we have today.” After meeting fellow June co-founder and ex-Apple engineer Nikhil Bhogal at the alternate social network Path, the two decided to launch June.
Their first product is the oven, and although it features design work from the tech-centric Ammunition Group, the Intelligent Oven doesn’t look that out of touch with the stainless steel appliances already in your kitchen. It’s a little more premium, a little more luxe, and a lot more high-tech.
Taking a page from typical toaster oven designs, one whole side of the June is made of transparent, triple-glazed glass; instead of a bunch of temperature knobs, June only has one dial, which supplements an integrated five-inch touch screen baked into the door.
Inside, thanks to innovative coils made of carbon fiber, the June is remarkably heat-efficient, preheating to 350 degrees in just two minutes with convection fans off. Your stove, by comparison, probably takes 15 minutes to preheat to that temperature. Despite all that rapid heating, though, the June remains cool to the touch even at a temperature of 500 degrees. “We wanted it to be a good countertop citizen and be safe around kids,” explains Bhogal.
But one of the major selling points of the June is that even though it heats up quickly, you also don’t need to pre-heat it at all. And that’s where the June’s smarts come in. Providing it recognizes what you’ve put into the oven, the June can automatically adjust the time it cooks your food by weighing your dish as you slide it in–did we mention the June was also a kitchen scale?–and adjusting baking time according to the oven’s internal temperature at the time. So if you decide to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies without preheating the oven first, the June knows just how long to bake them from 0° to be crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside.
How does the June know what food you’re trying to cook, though? It has a camera inside, another industry first.
“We’ve seen cameras in non-working concept ovens, but for about 500 degrees of reasons, they tend to actually be tricky to bring to market,” laughs Bhogal.
But the June team has a lot of expertise in doing impossible things with cameras: Bhogal was an engineer on the iPhone and iPad’s camera from the first-gen iPhone to the iPhone 5, with several Apple camera patents to his name. Not only was June able to build a camera right into their oven, but by tying it to a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra K1 chip, it was able to leverage deep machine learning algorithms (similar to the ones Google uses to let you search photos by content) to give the June the ability to recognize different types of food.
“By the time the door is closed, the June knows that you’re cooking, say, a steak,” Bhogal explains. “It knows how much it weighs, and if you use the integrated thermometers, it can cook that steak to your preference perfectly.” And if, for any reason, you have to walk away from your kitchen while it’s cooking, you can use your iPhone to tap into the camera and get a peek inside the oven, or be automatically alerted when dinner is ready.
For dedicated cooks, the June isn’t going to replace a regular oven. It has no burners, no broiler, and at one cubic foot, it only has capacity for a 12-pound turkey. For these more advanced meal planners, Van Horn and Bhogal think the June could take the place of a toaster oven. But for urban city dwellers in cramped apartments who want to stop eating takeout for every meal, the June could easily make having a more traditional stove obsolete. “It’s a perfect solution for amateur chefs in tight apartments who want to hone their craft,” says Van Horn.
The June Intelligent Oven is available for pre-order today, for $95 down against a $1,500 retail price when it ships in spring of 2016.