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Is Apple considering making robot helpers for your home?

In 2021, Amazon announced Astro, an Alexa-on-wheel robot that can follow you around (Amazon)
In 2021, Amazon announced Astro, an Alexa-on-wheel robot that can follow you around (Amazon)

Apple is working on a robot helper able to follow you around the home, as a potential future revolutionary device.

Apple leaker Mark Gurman of Bloomberg said a home robot was among the futuristic devices in the works at Apple HQ.

He said another was a smart display that can move around a desk, presumably letting you participate in video calls while walking around a room.

While the report suggests these projects are in active development, this does not mean they are particularly likely to make it to market. They are part of Apple’s Skunkworks division, which lets small teams work more autonomously on ambitious projects that could change how the company does business.

This means we likely ever hear about only a tiny fraction of what Apple Skunkworks gets up to. That Gurman has been let in on Apple’s robotics experiments suggests these have more chance of making it to shelves than most, though.

This is not the first time a huge company has made big swings in this area. In 2021, Amazon announced Astro, an Alexa-on-wheel robot that can follow you around. It was available only in limited quantities — and only to those in the US for $999.99, or around £856 at the exchange rate of the time.

A version of Astro is still available at Amazon. It is listed as a device for businesses, a roving security guard with “HD night vision” that can keep track of offices of up to 5,000 square feet. The original home version is listed as being out of stock.

From fun home robots to jobbing security guards — Astro has had to face the realities of the niche appeal of home robotics at present.

Apple’s robotics news follows the company’s autonomous electric car project cancellation. It never officially announced this but it was reportedly in the works for over a decade.

Such plans represent searches for the next big thing in consumer tech. Smartphones hit their peak sales in 2015-2016. And, while the recently released Apple Vision Pro sets standards in the VR, or spatial computing space, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects US sales won’t exceed 250,000 in 2024.