Are you an Amazon or an Apple family?

Home innovations like smart microwaves and toilets could lock us into a digital caste system

A few months ago, invited reporters to its Spheres complex in downtown Seattle. It is an enormous greenhouse doubling as a work space for employees: A climate-controlled, glass-enclosed, self-contained ecosystem made up of 40,000 species of plants from all over the world.

Amazon executives opened the event with a statement worthy of their surroundings: The company had 70 products, services and tools to introduce. Seventy new products? The journalists in the room responded with gasps and laughter.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2019, with the headline 'Are you an Amazon or an Apple family?'. Print Edition | Subscribe