April 22, 2013, 3:24 PM — Everyone knows the old axiom about consumer electronics: The rapid pace of technology quickly renders your new tech toys obsolete.
It turns out that not even high-tech toilets are immune from that truism. Kohler, which two years ago released its luxurious $6000 Numi toilet, has just announced the second-generation model, and it adds some essential upgrades not found in the current hardware.
The Numi first made waves in 2011 for its built-in speakers, FM radio, MP3 player and accompanying touch screen remote control, as well its hands-free operation and built-in bidet with "integrated dryer." Equally noteworthy was the Numi's striking design, and Kohler's bizarre suggestion that the rich and famous should heed nature's call in full view of nature.
But if you dropped $6000 on the existing Numi, prepare for disappointment. The new model includes a Bluetooth receiver for playing audio from your phone, an SD card slot for loading your own tunes or "personalized greetings," ambient lighting options and a service USB port that Kohler representatives can use to deliver software updates. It also offers a battery pack for up to 100 flushes, because apparently the Numi may not flush normally during a power outage.
Yes, this early adopter scenario is just like buying an iPad right before Apple announces the new and improved model--except ten times more expensive. But while the rumor mill tends to do a good job of letting people know when to expect new gadgets, there were no such whispers about the second-gen Numi. The tech press has truly failed the luxury toilet-buying public. (Unlike a recently-purchased iPad, chances are you won't be able to trade in your gently-used Numi for the upgraded version.)
As always, the arrival of the new model presents an opportunity for those who aren't obsessed with the latest and greatest in technology. Although Kohler lists the Numi at $6600, Amazon is clearing out the old model for a mere $5000. It's never been a better time to waste heaps of money on an overpriced toilet.