Apple is reportedly planning to make its foray into robotics. Pexels

Having ditched its electric car plans, Apple is reportedly making a foray into robotics, seeking a bold new product category. The company is delving into new markets and seeking avenues to generate additional revenue. Personal robotics is one area under investigation by the company.

A Bloomberg report suggests that Apple engineers are exploring the possibility of developing a home robot to follow users around. Still in its early stages, this plan comes as Apple seeks new revenue streams.

In February, Apple executives scrapped plans for a self-driving electric car, a decision lauded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The Cupertino-based tech giant has shifted its focus to developing mixed-reality goggles, but this project may take years to become a significant revenue generator.

Bloomberg's report also suggests the iPhone manufacturer has developed an advanced tabletop home device that uses robotics to manoeuvre a display. According to insiders, the robotic display is considerably more developed than the mobile robot.

Although Apple has begun limited test production of the screens for this device, they have yet to decide whether to proceed. Before abandoning its EV project, Apple told its senior executives that the company's future hinged on three areas: automotive, the home, and mixed reality.

Apple has already entered the mixed-reality market with the release of the Vision Pro headset. Moreover, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported last year that the company intends to launch a more affordable version of the recently unveiled Vision Pro.

From electric vehicles to home robots

The tabletop robotics project was initially designed to mimic a person's head movements, like nodding during a FaceTime call. However, Bloomberg's report suggests the company was concerned about consumers' willingness to pay a premium for such devices.

Bloomberg's report suggests disagreement among Apple's senior executives regarding the tabletop robotics project. Executives are exploring alternative robotics applications in a covert facility resembling a domestic setting near their Cupertino, California, campus.

Since Steve Jobs' era, Apple has made no effort to identify its next big thing to succeed the iPhone, which generated 52 percent of the company's £303.66 ($383.3) billion sales last year.

Apple had hoped its electric vehicles (expected to retail at around £80,000 per car) would generate hundreds of billions in revenue. However, in late February, the company informed its employees of the project's cancellation after over a decade in development.

After the project's cancellation, some staff developing the car were redeployed within Apple's Artificial Intelligence (AI) division. However, there were also reports of unavoidable layoffs.

The focus has now shifted to the AI division, where researchers are exploring the use of algorithms to enable robots to navigate cluttered domestic environments within customer homes.

This transition follows Amazon's foray into the home robotics market with their Astro robot launched in 2021 for £1,400 ($1,600). However, it has yet to gain mainstream appeal.

The Jeff Bezos-led company also introduced a business-orientated variant of the Astro robot last year, designed to function as a security guard. However, the Roomba remains the most popular home robot.

Apple's abandoned electric vehicle project is believed to have laid the groundwork for other innovations. Notably, the neural engine, the AI chip powering iPhones and Macs, was conceived initially for the car.

The car project also explored the use of VR technology in the driving experience, which paved the way for developing the Vision Pro headset. Apple's website currently advertises for positions in robotics, hinting at their continued interest in this field.