Apple Intelligence could skip HomePod to debut on a mysterious table-top robot

Roger Fingas / Android Authority


  • Apple’s first smart home product supporting its new AI platform could be a robotic smart display.
  • Early reports describe the project as a video call system that mimics human gestures with its tilting screen.

Apple Intelligence has got to be one the most eagerly anticipated AI platforms around — even as we get excited about early rumors of Google AI on the Pixel 9. With beta access set to get underway this fall, iOS users are just a few months away from dipping their toes in Apple’s impressive-looking suite of tools for creation, editing, and just delivering quality-of-life enhancements. While Apple Intelligence will come to iPhones and iPads with the release of iOS 18, what can we expect on other Apple hardware? A new report this week claims that Apple’s first smart home hardware supporting its new AI efforts won’t be the HomePod, but a novel… robot?

Mark Gurman shares the theory over at Bloomberg, while discussing the expansion of Apple Intelligence to Siri and devices like the Vision Pro in the first half of next year. There, almost as an afterthought, he claims that the first home hardware we’ll see Apple support in this manner will be an “AI-powered table-top robot.”

While that’s all the detail this recent report goes into, Gurman has been talking about Apple’s interest in robotics for a little while now. Back in April another Bloomberg piece of his discussed “an advanced table-top home device that uses robotics to move a display around.” That report mentioned two different robot projects: the smart display, as well as what sounds like a more ambulatory robot that would follow you around your home.

At the time, Gurman identified the smart display as being the project that was further along, but he also characterized it as one that’s been stuck in development for years and years. At one point, it was supposed to be something mainly for video calls, maybe tracking your position and turning to keep you framed, and even mimicking gestures, like tilting the screen for a nod.

Whether that’s still the sort of use Apple has in mind for this device is a very good question, and not one that Gurman chooses to broach further at this point. How exactly would Siri-enhanced Apple Intelligence play into the user experience? Will Apple really commit to the “robotic” side of this, and not just ultimately deliver a more traditional smart display? If only we had a good artificial intelligence to ask!

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