Apple exploring personal home robots: Report

Apple CEO Tim Cook (2nd from right) greets customers as he arrives for the Vision Pro headset release at the Apple Store in New York on February 2, 2024.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Apple is exploring the development of personal domestic robots after abandoning its electric vehicle project, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Apple engineers studied a robot that could follow users around their homes and a tabletop device that uses robotics to adjust a display screen, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the research team.

Apple abandoned its electric vehicle project, called Special Projects Group, in February, another of its lunar projects. Reports of this secret program, which employed thousands of employees, first surfaced in 2014, after the company recruited automotive engineers and other relevant positions.

Apple’s car project was part of an internal effort to expand into new product markets. In recent years, the company has also invested heavily in products and services such as its Apple Watch and Vision Pro virtual reality headset, but the latter will likely take years to generate significant revenue.

The company’s hardware engineering division and its AI and machine learning group are overseeing work on personal robotics, Bloomberg reported. Work on personal home robots is still in the early stages of research and development, according to the report.

Other tech companies have also explored home robots.

Amazon introduced its $1,600 Astro home robot in 2021, which is essentially a smart display on wheels that can respond to Alexa commands. Nearly three years after its debut, the device remains available in limited quantities by invitation only. An executive overseeing the project left Amazon last May, and in November the company launched a version of Astro for businesses akin to a roving security guard.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Learn more at Bloomberg.

– CNBC’s Kif Leswing and Annie Palmer contributed reporting.


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