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Is a smart home robot Apple's next big thing?

Apple robotics, AI and ML divisions are reportedly working on two potential concepts for an Apple Home Robot

By Susan FourtanéPublished about a month ago 3 min read
Apple Home Robot concept by Susan Fourtané using Ideogram.ai (this concept is not associated with Apple Inc. or with any current or future Apple product)

Apple home robotics could potentially be the tech company's next big thing.

Engineers at an Apple robotics division have reportedly been working on embedding Artificial Intelligence (AI) into personal home robots. In other words: giving Siri a body and mobility to talk to you while following around the house.

Apple has been toying with two concepts, one for a mobile robot that can follow users in the home and an advanced table-top home device that uses robotics to move a display around.

The plan is still in its early stages. However, it is unclear up to this point if the products will be released any time soon.

Apple turning into automated smart home devices or personal robotics makes sense.

Apple has its HomePod with Siri built-in. Embedding AI into an Apple personal robot would be an upgrade for both the HomePod and Siri.

Focusing on home robotics would give Apple a new way to have a stronger presence in the smart home market and capitalise on advances in Artificial Intelligence at the same time.

According to a Bloomberg’s source, “the robotic smart display has been added and removed from the company’s product road map over the years.”

It is well known that Apple prefers to keep its projects as secret as possible for as long as possible, especially during the early stages of development.

However, what we do know is that within Apple’s hardware engineering division and its AI and machine learning group there is some potentially important robotics work under development led by John Giannandrea, Senior Vice President (SVP) of Machine Learning and AI Strategy at Apple and a member of Apple’s executive team.

Giannandrea, who is a Scottish software engineer, previously led Google Search and Artificial Intelligence as SVP, and was co-founder and CTO of the speech recognition company Tellme.

Artificial Intelligence is another major focus for Apple. And while working on further developments of chatbots and generative technology, there could be some overlap with its robotics work.

Apple AI researchers have reportedly been investigating the use of algorithms to help robots navigate cluttered spaces.

Matt Costello, VP of Hardware Engineering and Operations at Apple and CEO of Beats Electronics, and Brian Lynch, Senior Director of Home Hardware Engineering and FEA at Apple have overseen the hardware development in the home robots projects. Costello also has experience building GPTs.

Recently, Apple told its top executives that the company’s future included the smart home and mixed reality (MR). Both the smart home and MR markets are expected to expand rather quickly in the next few years.

Apple has a secret facility near its campus in Cupertino that resembles the inside of a house. Here, Apple can test future smart home prototypes, including a smart home robot.

If the robotics work progresses, Apple could potentially be the first tech company to push and create the home robot market.

In 2021, Amazon introduced Astro, a voice-controlled home robot featuring a screen on wheels with Alexa.

Astro can autonomously patrol the house, check on pets, have video calls, and respond to voice commands. Astro currently costs $1,600.

But the company has been slow in introducing the robot in major quantities. In 2023, Amazon offered a business-focused version designed to work as a security guard in the enterprise.

I think that if Apple goes forward with the home robot project a whole home robot market would flourish, just like it happened when Apple launched the iPhone back in June 2007 creating the smartphone market.


About the author: Susan Fourtané is a Science and Technology Journalist, a professional writer with 18 years experience writing for global media and industry publications. She’s a member of the ABSW, WFSJ, Society of Authors, and London Press Club.

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About the Creator

Susan Fourtané

Susan Fourtané is a Science and Technology Journalist, a professional writer with 18 years experience writing for global media and industry publications. She's a member of the ABSW, WFSJ, Society of Authors, and London Press Club.

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Ah yes, I think I've seen a few videos of Astro on TikTok. Anyway, off topic but I really love the name Giannandrea! It's like a combo of Gianna and Andrea! Also, looking forward to see what Apple comes up with.

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