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Apple’s next big thing could be an Apple robot. Here’s what we know.


TL;DR: The Apple Robot

  • What is it? The company is said to be working on two times of personal household robots. 🤖
  • First type: A robot that actually follows the user around the house, acting as an assistant. 🧹
  • Second type: A table-top-based robot. 🏡
  • Release date: The future. Maybe. Or it may never come out. 📆

In news we didn’t expect to hear, Apple is reportedly working on its own robots. No, it’s not a joke. Let’s just cut to the nitty-gritty: the report comes from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman who has strong sources related to the company. In an article breaking the rumor, Gurman said:

“Engineers at Apple have been exploring a mobile robot that can follow users around their homes, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the skunk-works project is private. The iPhone maker also has developed an advanced table-top home device that uses robotics to move a display around, they said.”

Bloomberg

The news of the company’s interest in robots comes after Apple privately canceled its long-running Apple Car project, which the iPhone maker sunk billions of dollars into for more than a decade. It also comes on the heels of the Apple Vision Pro launch—a device, while technologically impressive, that has yet to find mainstream appeal partly due to its high cost.

The robot news suggests Apple is eager to explore potential future products that could be defining for the company much in the same way the iPod and iPhone were.

Right now not much is known about the robotics project except that the robots currently seem to be taking two forms. The first in one that actually follows users around their homes. This probably would not be a bipedal robot that resembles a human, but rather a small pet-sized robot with wheels.

The second type of robot seems that it would be a stationary tabletop device with a screen that can rotate on its own. As Bloomberg reports, “The idea was to have the display mimic the head movements — such as nodding — of a person on a FaceTime session. It would also have features to precisely lock on to a single person among a crowd during a video call.”

Apple’s interest in robots reportedly began back in 2019. And besides the two already mentioned, it seems the company had some truly cool visions for the type of robots it may build. “One pie-in-the-sky idea within Apple was having it be able to handle chores, like cleaning dishes in a sink,” Bloomberg says. “But that would require overcoming extraordinarily difficult engineering challenges — something that’s unlikely this decade.”

If Apple were ever to release a robot product, the company would be far from the first one to do so. The Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner has been on sale for more than two decades now. The autonomous robot can vacuum up messes around your home.

And in 2021, Amazon released the Amazon Astro robot. The robot resembles a screen mounted on a tricycle-like body. Amazon describes the robot like this:

“Keep home closer with Astro, the household robot for home monitoring, with Alexa. When you’re away, use the Astro app to see a live view of your home, check in on specific areas, and get activity alerts. When you’re home, Astro can follow you from room to room playing your favorite music, podcasts or shows, and find you to deliver calls, reminders, alarms, and timers set with Alexa.”

Amazon

However, the robot does not seem to have caught the attention of mainstream consumers. Yet it’s worth noting that the Astro is not available to the general public and interested purchases must express their interest and be approved to buy one.

Whether Apple’s robots end up being more versatile than the Astro remains to be seen, but it could be a decade or more before any Apple robot device launches—if ever.

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