Apple is exploring various “personal robotics” projects in an effort to create its “next big thing,” according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman.

Amazon’s Astro robot

One of these projects is described as a “mobile robot” that would “follow users around their homes,” while another is said to be an “advanced table-top home device that uses robotics to move a display around”:

Engineers at Apple have been exploring a mobile robot that can follow users around their homes, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the skunk-works project is private. The iPhone maker also has developed an advanced table-top home device that uses robotics to move a display around, they said.

Apple is investigating the use of AI algorithms that would help robots “navigate cluttered spaces within people’s homes,” the report says. Apple has apparently wanted to create robots that can “handle chores, like cleaning dishes in a sink,” but Gurman said this feat is unlikely this decade due to “extraordinarily difficult engineering challenges.”

Apple’s home robot could compete with the likes of Amazon’s Astro, which serves as a mobile virtual assistant and provides home security monitoring.

As for the table-top device, Gurman said one idea was for its display to “mimic the head movements” of a person on a FaceTime video call. However, he said Apple has faced technical challenges related to “balancing the weight of a robotic motor on a small stand,” and some Apple executives have apparently debated whether to develop such a device.

The robotics projects are said to be in the very early stages of research, and it is unclear if any will ever be released. For now, they are just moonshot ideas, but they are fascinating ones for sure.

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