AI / Apple to acquire autonomous-dog startup DogGone / HomeKit’s “best friend”

Back when autonomous cars first scratched at reality’s doorstep, someone loaded six labradors into a self-driving Prius. It rolled down the freeway and became one of the best pranks of the day. But laugh no more. Datadoodle’s bloodhound reporters have caught wind of a so-far unannounced Apple acquisition that enables self-walking dogs.

One secretive Oakland, CA startup named DogGone has done it. If its trail leads to an actual product, it would be the greatest labor saving tool known to man. It’s certainly what dog owners have dreamed of.

DogGone founder Jake Tipperary said what you’d expect from a startup owner who just cashed in. “We think DogGone is a great fit with Apple’s HomeKit framework…” and blah blah blah. “You can send your dog for a walk anytime, anywhere,” he said. “We’re species agnostic.”

To hear more, we tracked Tipperary to his loft in West Oakland overlooking the Brown Sugar Cafe. “Dogs collaborate … Anyone who walks dogs knows how you know your dog’s friends before you know the humans on the leash.” DogGone includes an option to let dogs bring home friends. Tipperary already has a prototype of a doggie social media app. “They don’t get hashtags.”

DogGone was conceived, he said, as such ideas often do, after a date. Tipperary and his date had had a few glasses of wine on his couch. But then he had to take the dog out for a pee. While he was out, his date fled.

“I said to myself, ‘Hey, the darn cars can drive themselves. Why can’t dogs walk themselves!”

What about poop? Do the dogs pick it up? Tipperary scoffed. “We’re a catalyst for sustainability. Cities have to stop dithering and get with it on urban farming.” He added, “People define poop as a problem when it can be a solution!”

The announcement also seems to give credibility to the often dismissed rumor of a second Apple acquisition in the works: a canine counterpart to AirBNB, DogStay. An Apple spokesperson denied that there are any such discussions. At least not today, April 1.