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Apple's next big thing could be a robot for your home

Apple wouldn't be first to launch a personal robot, with Amazon's Astro already available.

Published onApril 4, 2024

Apple logo Mac Mini M2 2023
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
  • Apple is reportedly investigating personal robotics, with two projects at a research stage.
  • One project is a robotic smart display with a screen that can move around.
  • The other project is a personal robot that could roam around your home.

Apple recently canceled its years-long car project, but what could be the company’s next big innovation? Well, a personal robot could be next, according to a new report.

Bloomberg reports that Apple is investigating personal robotics, citing people with knowledge of the matter. One prominent project is purportedly a robot that can follow you around the home. The company has also apparently developed a smart display of sorts that uses robotics to move a screen around.

The outlet’s sources note that both projects are still at an early research stage, but add that the robotic smart display is at a more advanced stage than the personal robot. In fact, it’s believed that this smart display has been added and removed from Apple’s roadmap over an unspecified number of years.

Why would you want these robotic devices, then?

Bloomberg notes that the original idea for the personal robot was that it could roam around autonomously, akin to a self-driving car, and be used for video conferencing. One extreme idea for the concept was that it could do chores like washing dishes in a sink, but this would apparently require a number of major technological advances.

Meanwhile, the robotic smart display would mimic the head movements of someone on a Facetime call (e.g. nodding). It would also be able to lock on to one person within a crowd during a video call. However, Apple executives are concerned about whether people would pay a premium for a device like this. It’s also believed that the company is concerned about the weight of the robotic components on a small stand.

Would you buy a personal robot by Apple?

29 votes

Apple’s personal robot wouldn’t be the first one produced by a major tech company, though. Amazon launched its ~$2,300 Astro robot a while back, and it’s marketed as a “household robot for home monitoring.” Astro is able to navigate around the home, finding you to deliver calls, messages, reminders, and more. The robot can also be used as a remote security camera system and can be sent to check out specific rooms. Unfortunately, the robot is only available via invitation right now.

Samsung has also showcased the so-called Ballie robot in recent years. This isn’t a commercial product just yet, but the Galaxy maker says it can serve as a smart home assistant and has a built-in projector. So Apple would have some competition in the personal robot space if it chooses to forge ahead.

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