Apple reportedly exploring AI-powered home robots – including these two products

Apple Store photo taken by iPhone 15 Pro Max at 77mm

Photo of Apple Store taken by iPhone 15 Pro Max at 77mm.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Apple has made several major shifts in its product roadmap within the last year, including putting an end to its electric car project and focusing on developing its presence in the AI space. Apple’s next pivot may be into home robotics. 

Also: The 15 best robots and AI tech we saw at CES 

On Wednesday, Apple analyst Mark Gurman — citing insider sources — reported that Apple is exploring the development of personal robots. The possible products include a mobile robot assistant that follows users around their homes and an advanced tabletop device with a moving display powered by robotics. 

The robotics development is reportedly happening under John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy, who previously led machine intelligence, research, and search teams at Google. Additionally, Matt Costello and Brian Lynch, two Apple executives in the hardware group, have overseen the hardware development of the robots, according to the report. 

Since the developments are in their early stages and the company has not yet committed to the project, there is no guarantee that the products will be released.

This isn’t the first time Apple has considered creating a tabletop device with a display. In February, 9to5Mac reported that Apple was working on an unreleased device that could be a HomePod with a screen. 

Also: The Apple products you shouldn’t buy this month: April 2024 edition

Even though this would be Apple’s first time creating a home robot, it wouldn’t be the first home robot to hit the market. Amazon has its robot assistant Astro, which it launched in 2021. Samsung has its home assistant Ballie, a bowling ball-sized robot that can double as a projector, smart home hub, and more, and is expected to hit the market in 2024.  

Today’s report follows a research paper published this week by Apple researchers that introduced its Reference Resolution As Language Modeling (ReALM), a model that could potentially improve Siri’s conversational abilities. 

Whether Apple’s home robots hit the market or not, one thing is for sure — Apple is suiting up to become a heavy hitter in the AI and robotics space. We may get a glimpse of that at WWDC in June. robo


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