'I put the probability that we see a product in the next 5 years at slim to none.': Long-time Apple analyst pours cold water on Apple home robot speculation

Apple MacBook Air M3
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has officially canned the Apple Car concept, which means the company is in search of its "next big thing." While the Apple Vision Pro does represent Apple's push into the augmented reality market, it's expected to take years before the Vision Pro becomes a profitable business venture. Which means Apple is currently looking into new markets.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the next big thing in question may be home robots. Bloomberg's sources claim "Engineers at Apple have been exploring a mobile robot that can follow users around their homes," as well as a "Table-top home device that uses robotics to move a display around."

However, some Apple analysts are less convinced that this is a market that the company is likely to play in, at least in the short term. Gene Munster, Managing Partner of Deep Water Management and long-time Apple analyst commented on X that, "$AAPL may be working on a personalized robot, as reported by Mark Gurman. I 100% agree that it makes sense for Apple to have a small skunkworks project exploring a deeper dive into home automation. That said, I put the probability that we see a product in the next 5 years at slim to none." 

What does this mean for you?

Robot creates digital art

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

According to Bloomberg's report, "Before the EV project was canceled, Apple told its top executives that the company’s future revolved around three areas: automotive, the home and mixed reality." Obviously, the EV is no longer in the works, as Apple shut the project down in February this year. However, the Apple Vision Pro has already hit the shelves with the Vision SE expected to follow. Which leaves the home market open for further expansion.

Of course, Apple engineers looking into concepts doesn't mean much for us right now and it certainly seems likely that Munster is correct that even if this is in the works somewhere, it's nothing that would see the light of day soon. After all the now cancelled EV car concept was at least a decade in the making. 

Bloomberg acknowledges, "The effort is still in the beginning stages — and it’s unclear if the products will ultimately be released." So don't start saving for your iHomeRobot just yet. 

For now Apple's "next big thing" is still spatial computing, which despite the much-hyped launch of the Apple Vision Pro, doesn't seem to be an iPhone, iPad, or even Apple Watch-level breakthrough just yet. Price and support are two major challenges, so it'll be interesting to see what Apple has to say about the headset's software at WWDC 2024 and the rumored Vision SE could potentially bring the product into consideration for a wider audience.

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Madeline Ricchiuto
Staff Writer

A former lab gremlin for Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, and Tech Radar; Madeline has escaped the labs to join Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer. With over a decade of experience writing about tech and gaming, she may actually know a thing or two. Sometimes. When she isn't writing about the latest laptops and AI software, Madeline likes to throw herself into the ocean as a PADI scuba diving instructor and underwater photography enthusiast.