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Apple’s next big thing might be robots for your home, report claims

Published Apr 3rd, 2024 4:45PM EDT
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Image: Michael Buckner for BGR

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After giving up on its self-driving car and pricing its Vision Pro spatial computer out of reach for most consumers, Apple is reportedly thinking about turning to robots next.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, sources familiar with Apple’s plans say the company is investigating a push into personal robotics. Engineers at Apple have reportedly been exploring a mobile robot that can follow users around their homes. They have also developed an advanced device capable of autonomously moving a display around.

Although their plans are still in the early stages, and the devices may never see the light of day, Gurman notes that Apple is under pressure to find new sources of revenue growth after Project Titan flamed out. Adding to that pressure is the fact that the Vision Pro isn’t quite shaping up to be Apple’s “next big thing” for at least a few more years (if ever).

The report claims the robotics projects are being run by Apple’s hardware engineering division as well as its AI and machine learning group. Apple execs Matt Costello and Brian Lynch are overseeing the development of the hardware, but the company has yet to commit to releasing either project, both of which remain in the early research phase.

The robotic smart display is reportedly much further along in development than the mobile robot but has even been added and removed from the company’s product roadmap many times over the years — further evidence of Apple’s unwillingness to commit.

The report goes on to note that the smart display first excited senior executives at Apple a few years ago. The display would be able to mimic the movements of a person on a FaceTime call, such as shaking their head or nodding. It would also be able to lock on to a specific person in a crowd during a call, so the display would always center on them.

Apple’s concern is that consumers won’t shell out for such a device.

As for the home robot, the original idea was for a videoconferencing device that could navigate around a space on its own. Some engineers inside Apple have dreamed of a robot that handles chores like cleaning dishes, but that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.