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Apple is contemplating home robots as its upcoming major product category

Apple is reportedly delving into the development of a home robot, potentially marking its next significant product launch following the Vision Pro headset. After shelving its extensive efforts to create a self-driving electric vehicle, the tech giant is now exploring the realm of home robotics, which could emerge as its “next big thing” after the Vision Pro, according to a recent report. It is indicated that both Apple’s hardware engineering division and its AI and machine learning group are collaborating on this potential new venture.

Sources familiar with the matter revealed that Apple engineers are contemplating the concept of a mobile robot designed to accompany users within their homes. Additionally, it has been disclosed that Apple has constructed a prototype for a tabletop home device capable of moving a display around using robotics.

Apple witnessed a two percent growth in sales at the end of last year, breaking a four-quarter streak of declining revenue, as reported by The Guardian. However, challenges persist, particularly in markets like China, where iPhone sales experienced a decline from $23.9 billion to $20.8 billion in the specified quarter. Similarly, iPad sales dropped from $9 billion to $7 billion within the same timeframe. These circumstances highlight the urgency for Apple to explore new revenue streams.

The introduction of home robots could potentially serve as a means for Apple to infiltrate consumers’ households with yet another Apple device. Nevertheless, even if this product materializes, Apple would not be the first company to venture into the realm of home robotics.

In 2021, e-commerce behemoth Amazon unveiled the Astro, a screen-equipped robot on wheels integrated with the company’s Alexa voice software. While reports suggest that Apple’s prospective product might share similarities with the Astro, specifics regarding the design of Apple’s robot remain undisclosed.

While the Astro faced criticism from reviewers, other home robots, such as the Roomba series from iRobot, have enjoyed widespread success, reportedly finding their way into over 40 million households. Notably, Amazon had previously attempted to acquire iRobot, but regulatory hurdles forced both companies to abandon the deal.

Meanwhile, Apple’s Vision Pro, serving as the company’s latest venture into the virtual reality/augmented reality market, has demonstrated relative success. Despite its premium price tag of $3,500, the Vision Pro reportedly sold over 150,000 units during its opening weekend, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. To provide context, the iPhone sold 270,000 units during its opening weekend in 2007, albeit at a significantly lower average selling price. Adjusting for inflation, the Vision Pro generated approximately four times more revenue than the iPhone did at its launch.

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