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Apple Is Exploring Home Robots After Abandoning EV Project

ByHuey Yee Ong

Apr 4, 2024

Apple Is Exploring Home Robots After Abandoning EV Project

Apple is reportedly delving into the realm of personal home robotics, following the discontinuation of its ambitious electric vehicle initiative. This new direction comes as the tech behemoth aims to expand its technological footprint beyond its current suite of products and services.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, the company’s engineers are actively researching potential robotic offerings, including a mobile robot capable of accompanying users throughout their homes and a sophisticated tabletop device designed to manipulate a display screen via robotic mechanisms.

The shift in focus was highlighted after Apple formally ceased operations on its electric vehicle project in February, marking the end of one of its most speculative ventures to date.

Apple’s Electric Car Effort

The electric car effort, known under the Special Projects Group, had been a subject of industry speculation since 2014 when it was revealed that Apple had been recruiting automotive engineers and other specialists, signaling its interest in the automotive sector. Despite the significant resources and personnel allocated to the project, the decision to halt its progress underscores Apple’s strategic reevaluation of its future product roadmap.

Early Stages of Robotic Exploration

Apple’s exploration into personal robotics is still in the early stages, with the company’s hardware engineering division alongside its artificial intelligence and machine learning group leading the research and development efforts.

Although details regarding specific functionalities and potential applications of the proposed robotic devices remain scarce, the initiative indicates Apple’s continued commitment to innovation and its willingness to explore novel product categories.

Several companies have ventured into the home robots space with varying degrees of success.

Amazon, for instance, launched its $1,600 Astro home robot in 2021. The device, which acts as a mobile smart display capable of responding to Alexa voice commands, was introduced with much fanfare but has since been available only in limited quantities through an invite-only purchase model.

Despite the challenges faced by Amazon, including the departure of a key executive overseeing the Astro project, the company has continued to explore the commercial potential of home robotics, launching a business-oriented version of Astro designed to serve as a mobile security solution.

Apple’s foray into personal robotics comes at a time when the company has been actively seeking to diversify its product offerings, with investments in areas such as the Apple Watch and the Vision Pro virtual reality headset. However, despite the potential of these new ventures, it is anticipated that they will require considerable time to generate meaningful revenue streams.

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Featured image was created with the assistance of DALL·E by ChatGPT

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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