Apple is working on home robots that will follow you around the house, report claims

Europe Digital Rules (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Europe Digital Rules (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Apple is working on personal robots that could follow their owners around their homes, according to a report.

The products could also include a device that sits on a table and uses a robot to move a screen around, following it during video calls, for instance, according to Bloomberg. Apple already includes a similar feature in its iPads and Macs, known as FaceTime, but the camera itself does not move.

Apple’s new plan would allow it to use some of the technology developed for a now-abandoned car project, the same report claimed. At least one engineer who worked on the team who were building that electric vehicle have swapped to the new project, though it is being managed by Apple’s home devices group, Bloomberg said.

The product could rely on the same robotics as that project, as well as using algorithms developed to allow the car – and now the robots – to understand what is in a room.

The company intends for the new robots to be a new innovative product category of the kind that the car might have been. But even Apple is concerned about how much customers might pay for a home robot, especially at high prices, the report said.

Apple is said to consider home technology one of a number of future product areas, which also includes cars and mixed reality. It launched its first devoted augmented reality product earlier this year, in the form of the Apple Vision Pro.

Apple has long been rumoured to be working on new hardware for the home. That has included a device with a screen like an iPad that would allow people to interact with Siri, for instance, which would compete with similar screen-based home assistants such as those made by Amazon and Google.

It remains unclear whether Apple will actually bring the robots to market, and they are still in their early stages. Work on the Apple car took years and vast amounts of investment before it finally abandoned it, apparently concerned that the products high price and other issues would blight its success.