Apple’s home robot project

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Based on the recent reports, it appears that Apple is exploring the development of personal home robots after shutting down its electric car project. Here are the key details about Apple's rumored home robotics efforts:

Mobile Robot

  • Apple engineers are investigating a mobile robot that could follow users around their homes to assist with various tasks.
  • The robot would likely be able to place FaceTime calls, monitor the home, carry out simple chores, and answer queries.
  • Apple is exploring AI algorithms to help the robots navigate cluttered home environments.
  • However, more ambitious functions like doing dishes are unlikely this decade due to difficult engineering challenges.

Tabletop Robot

  • Apple has reportedly developed a more advanced tabletop device that uses robotics to move its display around.
  • One idea was to have the display mimic head movements of a person on a FaceTime call, like nodding or locking onto a single person.
  • But Apple has struggled with the weight balance and is unsure if consumers would pay a premium for this.
  • The robotic display is said to be further along than the mobile robot but has been added and removed from Apple's roadmap over the years.
The home robotics project is still in early research and development under Apple's AI/ML and hardware engineering groups. It's unclear if or when any of these products will actually launch. Apple likely sees robotics as a potential new product category and revenue source after canceling its electric car plans. Other companies like Amazon and Samsung have already released or announced their own home robots. But home robotics remains a challenging field, with iRobot's Roomba vacuum being the only mainstream success so far. Apple will need to overcome technical hurdles and find compelling use cases to succeed in this space.
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