Apple’s Rumored AI Robots: Explained video – CNET

Apple's Rumored AI Robots: Explained


Speaker 1: Could Apple’s next big thing be a robot? Now the Apple car is in the rear view mirror. Bloomberg reports that a robot that follows you around the home could be in the works. Now, there is of course a lot of overlap with AI here. Another area we know is going to be probably pretty big for Apple this year For the robots. Specifically though, the report says the company’s AI researchers are investigating how it could navigate cluttered spaces. A rumor can already do that pretty well. So what else could this be? Maybe it’s more [00:00:30] like the little Star Wars droids. Yeah, probably not, but it’s fun to speculate. Another project that’s also supposedly a little further along in development is a tabletop device that uses robotics to move a display. This might mimic head movements of the person you are FaceTiming with, like nodding or maybe shaking your head. Speaker 1: I’m already a little creeped out by my persona on Vision Pro, so I dunno how I’m going to feel about this one. Home robots aren’t new. We’ve seen tech companies big and small, bring out lots of different versions with varying degrees of success [00:01:00] and availability. The Amazon Astro with its strangely expressive screen eyes is kind of a jack of all trades, a home security robot, personal companion, and smart display all rolled up into one, but you can’t really get your hands on it. Even two years after we first reviewed it on Amazon, it’s still listed as invite only and costs $1,600. It’s one of what Amazon calls, its day one edition projects. Basically, they’re big picture projects and initiatives. Then there’s the Samsung [00:01:30] Bley. We first saw this cute spherical robot pop up a number of times at trade shows like CES in 2020 and in January this year it’s taken what we think is going to be its final form, a bigger rollable ball with a built-in projector, and of course plenty of ai. Speaker 1: But both these examples show that getting a home robot right is really, really difficult. There’s been so many other companies along the way that have tried to be our new personal companions like the Anky Cosmo robot, which I remember falling in love with back in 2016. Paul went out for the little [00:02:00] guy may he live on through open source. It still feels like we are waiting for our true Rosie from the Jetsons moment, which funnily enough is something Apple’s also been thinking about too. According to Mark Mann’s report, one of the original ideas was a fully autonomous robot that could move around the home with video conferencing capabilities. Kind of like an iPad on wheels or I guess similar to what the Astro does, but more intriguing for me is how the report also mentions a robot that does chores like washing dishes in a sink. [00:02:30] Obviously the engineering challenges to commercialize that sort of robot would be enormous, but I would pay top dollar for that same price as a vision probe. Sure. Then there’s the question of how AI fits into all of this chat. GPT is being integrated into something like figure a general purpose humanoid robot. There’s Tesla’s optimists also in the same vein and NVIDIA’s project group, which can understand human inputs like natural language and movement. Meta is also working on what it calls socially intelligent Speaker 2: AI agents that could [00:03:00] take a number of different forms from AI glasses to a robot using a simulation platform called Habitat to train and collaborate with humans in a home environment. They’re all trying to bring AI robots to life. So why does Apple need a robot? Well, we know hardware is traditionally apple’s bread and butter. The iPhone is still the single biggest revenue generator for the company, and there is a big emphasis on what on earth is going to come next to either take its place or boost the bottom line. Building a robot is hard and we’ve got plenty of shuttered robotics [00:03:30] companies and projects to show for it. Apple reportedly also knows this because A, they know it’s going to be expensive and that might limit the audience it appeals to, and B, engineering challenges like weight distribution on a small stand. Adding in locomotion is no easy feat. Speaker 2: What I really want to know is what on earth would an Apple robot even look like? Is it something like pepper the robot with a face and a screen? Is it more humanoid style or is it more like an iPad on wheels? Maybe a HomePod on wheels with roller skates? Okay, [00:04:00] that last one’s totally off base, but it is fun to think about. Let me know what your thoughts are on the Apple robot. Speculate on what it could look like and what it could do down in the comments and we’ll see if this ever sees the light of day. See you.