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Apple's Venture into Personal Robotics: Exploring New Revenue Streams with Autonomous Home Bots and Smart Displays

Apple is investigating personal robotics, including a mobile robot and- Apple is exploring the field of personal robotics, with teams working on a mobile robot and a table-top home device. The projects are still in the early stages, and it is unclear if they will be released to the public. Apple sees robotics as a way to gain a stronger foothold in consumers' homes and capitalise on advancements in artificial intelligence.

Apple Inc. is delving into the world of personal robotics, with teams investigating the potential of this field to become the company's next major venture. According to insiders familiar with the matter, Apple engineers have been working on a mobile robot that can autonomously follow users around their homes. Additionally, the tech giant has developed an advanced table-top home device that utilises robotics to move a display around.


While these projects are still in the early stages, and it remains uncertain whether they will be released to the public, Apple is under increasing pressure to find new sources of revenue. Following the cancellation of its electric vehicle project earlier this year, and with its foray into mixed-reality goggles expected to take years to generate significant profits, Apple sees robotics as a potential avenue to gain a stronger foothold in consumers' homes and capitalise on advancements in artificial intelligence.


However, the exact approach Apple will take in the realm of robotics is yet to be determined. While the development of the robotic smart display is more advanced than the mobile bot, it has been added and removed from the company's product roadmap over the years, indicating internal debates and uncertainties.


The robotics work is being carried out within Apple's hardware engineering division and its AI and machine-learning group, led by John Giannandrea. Matt Costello and Brian Lynch, two executives focused on home products, have overseen the hardware development. Nevertheless, Apple has not made a firm commitment to either project, and the work is still in the early research phase.


Investors reacted with caution to the news, with Apple's stock experiencing only a modest increase after Bloomberg reported on the robotics work. In contrast, shares of iRobot Corp., the maker of Roomba, briefly surged as investors speculated on potential benefits from Apple's interest in the field.


Apple's previous focus on automotive, home, and mixed reality has shifted due to the cancellation of the car project and the release of the Vision Pro headset. As a result, the company is now exploring other future opportunities, including how to better compete in the smart home market.


The table-top robotics project initially excited senior Apple executives, with the idea of a display that mimics a person's head movements during a FaceTime session. However, concerns have arisen regarding consumer willingness to pay a premium price for such a device, as well as technical challenges related to balancing the weight of a robotic motor on a small stand. Internal disagreements among Apple executives have also hindered progress on the project.


Apple's secret facility near its Cupertino campus serves as a testing ground for future home devices and initiatives. The company has been exploring various ideas for the home market, including a new home hub device with an iPad-like display.


Since the Steve Jobs era, Apple has been driven by the pursuit of the "next big thing." However, finding a product that can match the success of the iPhone, which accounted for over half of the company's sales last year, has become increasingly challenging. While the car project had the potential to generate significant revenue, Apple now has several other projects in the pipeline, such as an updated Vision Pro, touch-screen Macs, AirPods with built-in cameras, and health technologies like a noninvasive blood sugar monitor.


Artificial intelligence is another major focus for Apple, and there may be some overlap with its robotics work. The company's AI researchers are exploring the use of algorithms to help robots navigate cluttered spaces within homes.

While Apple wouldn't be the first tech giant to develop a home robot, with Amazon introducing its Astro model in 2021, Apple's entry into the market could have a significant impact. The popularity of home robots, such as the Roomba vacuum, demonstrates the potential demand for such devices.


Despite the setback of the failed car project, Apple has managed to repurpose some of its developments for other initiatives. The neural engine, Apple's AI chip, was originally developed for the car, and the project also laid the groundwork for the Vision Pro through its exploration of virtual reality while driving.


The robotics work originated within Apple's Titan car project in 2019 and was initially overseen by Doug Field, who is now a top executive at Ford Motor Co. After Field's departure, the robotics work was transferred to the home devices group, and former members of the shuttered car project's hardware team have been repurposed for the development of home devices and robotics.


Apple's website currently advertises job openings related to robotics, indicating the company's intention to expand its teams working on these projects. The company is seeking innovative and hardworking researchers and engineers to help shape the AI and develop intelligent robotic systems for future Apple products.

 
  • Apple is investigating personal robotics, including a mobile robot and- Apple is exploring the field of personal robotics, with teams working on a mobile robot and a table-top home device.

  • The projects are still in the early stages, and it is unclear if they will be released to the public.

  • Apple sees robotics as a way to gain a stronger foothold in consumers' homes and capitalise on advancements in artificial intelligence.


Source: YAHOO

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