Apple is considering home robots as its next big product line: Report

Apple is considering home robots as its next big product line: Report

After abandoning its decades of work towards building a self-driving electric car, Apple is now exploring a foray into home robots, which could become the company’s “next big thing” after the Vision Pro headset, according to a new report. Both the company’s hardware engineering division and AI and machine-learning group are reportedly working together on the potential new product.

Apple engineers are considering a mobile robot that can follow users around the home, reported Marc Gurman of Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the situation. They also said that the second biggest public corporation in the world had built a prototype for a table-top home device that can move a display around using robotics.

Apple last year broke its four-quarter streak of declining revenue at the end of last year by reporting a two per cent growth in sales, according to The Guardian. But things are not going well for the makers of the iPhone. Its sales in China dropped from $23.9 billion to $20.8 billion in that quarter. iPad sales also dropped to $7 billion from $9 billion in the same quarter in the previous year. All of this puts more pressure on the publicly-traded company to open up new sources of revenue.

Introducing roots could potentially help the company to put another Apple device in its consumers’ homes. But even if the product becomes reality, Apple will not be the first company to develop a home robot.

E-commerce giant Amazon in 2021 had launched a robot called the Astro, a screen on wheels that works with the company’s Alexa voice software. While the Bloomberg report indicates that Apple’s new product might bear semblance to Astro, it is not clear as to what Apple’s robot would look like if it makes it to the shelves.

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While reviewers have branded Astro as a failure, other home robots have found widespread success. Roomba, a series of home cleaning robots from the company iRobot, finds itself in more than 40 million homes, at least according to the company’s claims. Interestingly, Amazon tried to acquire iRobot until both companies had to walk away from the deal due to regulatory issues.

That aside, the Apple Vision Pro, the company’s newest product offering that serves as the vanguard of its ambitions to enter the virtual reality/ augmented reality market, has been a relative success.

Despite its eye-watering price tag of $3,500, it sold more than 150,000 units on opening weekend, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. For comparison, the company sold 2,70,000 units of the iPhone on its opening weekend in 2007. But if you take into account the average sales price of $450 for the iPhone at the time, the Vision Pro generated approximately four times more revenue than the iPhone did at its launch (without adjusting for inflation.)

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First uploaded on: 04-04-2024 at 17:12 IST


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