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Apple Moves into Home Robotics as Next Frontier After Car Project Fizzles

Apple is exploring the field of personal robotics as a potential new growth area following the cancellation of its electric vehicle project earlier this year.

Bloomberg reports that according to people familiar with the situation, Apple has teams investigating a push into personal robotics, with engineers exploring a mobile robot that can follow users around their homes. The tech giant has also developed an advanced table-top home device that uses robotics to move a display around.

The robotics work is taking place within Apple’s hardware engineering division and its AI and machine-learning group, led by John Giannandrea. Matt Costello and Brian Lynch, two executives focused on home products, have been overseeing the hardware development. However, the company has not yet fully committed to either project, and the work is still considered to be in the early research phase.

Apple’s pursuit of the “next big thing” has been an ongoing challenge since the Steve Jobs era, as it becomes increasingly difficult to envision a product that could match the success of the iPhone, which accounted for 52 percent of the company’s $383.3 billion in sales last year. The company is under growing pressure to find new revenue sources, especially after scrapping its electric vehicle project in February and with its mixed-reality goggles expected to take years to become a major moneymaker.

The robotics work originally started within Apple’s Titan car project around 2019, when it was run by Doug Field, now a top EV executive at Ford Motor Co. Field tapped a series of executives to work on robotics initiatives, ranging from nearly silent indoor drones to home robots. The group included Lynch, Nick Sims (a former Google home products manager), and Dave Scott (who left Apple in 2021 and then returned in 2022 to work on the Vision Pro).

Apple reportedly has a secret facility near its campus in Cupertino, California, that resembles the inside of a house, where it can test future devices and initiatives for the home. The company has been exploring other ideas for the smart home market as well, including a new home hub device with an iPad-like display.



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