The Case For Apple to Make Home Robots Just Got Stronger

3 minute read
| Particle Debris

The profitability of cars is low. And Apple is a mass-market consumer electronics company that maintains high margins. Seeking Alpha argues that Apple should use its AI expertise for home robots instead.

The evolution of robots is inevitable.

I’ve been making this argument for years. Now Seeking Alpha weighs in also with strong analysis.

Here’s the link.

The case for cars is described and documented as weak…

it is also not clear whether Apple wants to be successful with such a car at all. Because with that it is moving away from its other hardware business. In addition, Tesla shows how difficult it is to manufacture a car and at the same time be profitable. Accordingly, an Apple car could put a lot of pressure on the company’s overall margin. Over the last ten years, the operating margin and profit margin has always been above 26 and 20 percent respectively.

The argument continues. Apple was perhaps on track at one point.

Given that, I’m convinced that Apple should bury his car plans and build a robotics-based home device, the iRobot. A few years ago there were rumours about such plans. Apple had just hired Yoky Matsuoka back then, an expert especially in robotics. Nevertheless, a short time after, Yoky Matsuoka left Apple and works now as CTO of Google Nest.

The motivation? Revenue. Lots of it.

With the robot as hardware Apple would have a new lever to bind customers to itself and the service business. Personal robots are increasingly used for entertainment, as well as education, cleaning and household applications. Global Household Robots Market was valued USD 24.8 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach 154.95 billion by 2026…

The case is well argued by Seeking Alpha.

More News Debris

• It’s almost certain there’s an 8K TV on your future. But the current trend is to pooh-pooh them as unnecessary. This review has the capacity to change your mind. Technology moves relentlessly forward, and so being well briefed is essential. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. Take a leap into the (near) future with me. “Samsung’s 8K Q900 65 Inch QLED HDR TV Just Got $1500 Knocked Off Its Price.

Samsung Q900 8K TV

Samsung Q900 8K TV. Image credit: Samsung

Here’s the product link.

• Quite some time ago, we learned that Apple was working on a Touch ID system embedded in the display as opposed to a sensor-in-button. The ideas was to get rid of the screen-stealing bar containing the button. But, apparently, the technology wasn’t ready, so Apple went with Face ID. Now, we have rumors that the in-display Touch ID may be resurfacing (!), but not as a replacement for Face ID but as a supplement. See: “Apple again reported to be planning in-display Touch ID for 2020 iPhones.”

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also claimed that this version of Touch ID will be coming to the iPhone. In August [he] was saying he expected it to be in either the 2020 or 2021 models.

• Previously, we reported that Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey spoke with CNN, but Jonny Evans at Apple Must has a much deeper take on her comments: “16 things an Apple VP just told us about Apple’s plans to replace your wallet.” For example, Jonny opines and then quotes…

I’ve been saying for some time that Apple will inevitably offer up government level identity, It’s happening, but it’s slow, confirmed the Apple VP.

“The hardest thing is identity. And the reason is that identity, to be legal, right? It has to be government issued and has to be authenticated by the government. And while there’s interesting progress happening in this space, it’s not the fastest area of innovation relative to some others.

This next item is cute, tragi-comical, and a scary reminder of changing social mores induced by technology. A sobering read. “How Apple’s HomePod turned my friends into rude troglodytes.” Only Chris Matyszczyk could have written this gem.

• The iPhone’s Settings are voluminous and deeply nested. Sometimes we need a guided tour to walks us through the tuning of our privacy in iOS. Here’s a good one at Lifewire \. “How to Limit Ad Tracking on iPhone and iPad.

• USB 4 is coming, and it’s going to help a lot with hubs and speed. Here’s an overview from Cult of Mac: “USB4 enables hubs with multiple USB-C ports.”

• Awhile back, we heard about Apple working on an iPhone (not Apple Watch) Walkie-Talkie feature. Style fills us in on the technology and why it was shelved (for now). “Why did Apple halt work on a new iPhone text feature that works without a mobile signal?

• Finally, MIT Technology Review fills us in on industry efforts to detect Deep Fake videos using AI: “Facebook is making its own AI deepfakes to head off a disinformation disaster.

The CTO of Faceook says videos forged using AI will be used maliciously on its platforms before long.

Facebook fears that AI-generated “deepfake” videos could be the next big source of viral misinformation—spreading among its users with potentially catastrophic consequences for the next US presidential election.

Its solution? Making lots of deepfakes of its own, to help researchers build and refine detection tools.

As always, let’s be careful out there.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

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lerican
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lerican

How you build your argument that Apple should not do automotive and switch to robotics is super flawed. FIrst: They could already be working on robotics and you might not know. In fact you would not know. Second: You are assuming they want to make automobiles instead of automotive technology. Can you back your assumption? Third: They could try both and still not put a dent in their cash reserves if one failed. Fourth: RE: “Apple had just hired Yoky Matsuoka back then, an expert especially in robotics. Nevertheless, a short time after, Yoky Matsuoka left Apple and works now… Read more »

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

Can I get an amen!

Robot priests can bless you, advise you, and even perform your funeral

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/9/9/20851753/ai-religion-robot-priest-mindar-buddhism-christianity

Roger Wilson
Member
Roger Wilson

Regarding the Seeking Alpha article, while the author makes reference to “all car companies” in relating 2-3% margins, that is somewhat disingenuous, as Mercedes averages over 21%, Porsche 15%, BMW 11.8%, Apple Titan could just as well be in that category, altho one would hope the quality issues would be better. Quality is what kills Tesla, they seem a little indifferent to significant design flaws.

wab95
Member
wab95

John: The Seeking Alpha piece makes a well-reasoned, financial focused and data-supported argument for Apple to start producing robots as well as to abandon their plans for building a car. They make a strong case that has but one critical, indeed potentially fatal if not addressed, weakness. Unlike an automobile, a robot has no single raison d’être, no obvious principal use case to justify its existence. Arguing that Apple should build a robot, even a home robot, is tantamount to arguing that Apple should build a home electronic device. Fine. An electronic device to do what? Unlike an automobile, a… Read more »

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

Currently, there is no consensus about what a home robot should be, do or even who should have one or why. This is because we have yet to address one fundamental question; what problem does a robot solve that cannot be solved by our current tools? I know several people that have those floor cleaning robots and they swear by them. But yes, other than that I can’t think of task for which a robot would be useful. A few days ago I installed a HomeKit controllable electric outlet switch for the bedroom window fan. Now I can stay in… Read more »

wab95
Member
wab95

Lee, I completely agree that vacuum cleaner bots (hoover bots) are useful. I’ve even toyed with the idea of getting one, but the thought that I might need to change the furniture placement in my house in order for the thing to be functional, and the fact that a hoover bot is not a complete or even near complete housekeeping solution, dulls my enthusiasm. That said, hoover bots are interesting, intriguing even, but not compelling in the way that smartphones or even smart watches are. Affordable and reliable tech that is consumer ready may simply be nonexistent for a compelling… Read more »

geoduck
Member
geoduck

Yes, a robot makes a lot more sense than a car.

CudaBoy
Member
CudaBoy

No. Apple can’t even make a smart assistant to compete with Alexa and Google. Forget it. Then there’s the Car – or should I say NOTHING. Stick to your racket of making toy phones obsolete every year Apple, that’s what made me money; please stop thinking you matter at all in matters of actual innovation. Tesla, Space-X, Alphabet – heck even the Chinese in Shenzhen are thinking more outside the box than you. A $60,000 Mac Pro? Way to go Apple. Fix your lousy laptops and phones before you even talk about robots. I bought AAPL decade + ago when… Read more »

gGrant
Member
gGrant

Just loved the article about friends seeing a talking tube in your house and assuming it’s theirs to do with as they please. Are these the same ones who change the television channel if they don’t like what you’re watching? Technology changes, human nature doesn’t. Remember that, ‘evolved’ millennials. Everybody’s smart to being with. It’s only with age and wisdom do we realise how dumb we are.

geoduck
Member
geoduck

It’s just another reason we need the ability to change the trigger name from Siri to something else.

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

“Hey Hoser”

Member
JBSlough

This. A hundred thousand times.

gGrant
Member
gGrant

8k has to be an intelligence test. Will customers buy these just because they’re better, who cares if there’s any way to deliver content? Television manufacturers got high the year everyone upgraded to HD and just keep coming up with more ridiculous reasons to upgrade a year later. They’ll bring back 3D when all else fails.

geoduck
Member
geoduck

Two years ago we got a new TV. Its 1080, has a built in Roku, and does absolutely everything we want or need. We will get an 8k TV, but only when our current one no longer does the job. The way these things last though, 16k might be the standard by then.

gGrant
Member
gGrant

Robots with the sophistication of the talking tubes we have now? Just waiting around to hear something that sounds like commands, no matter how ridiculous the result? No thanks. The profitability of phones couldn’t have been lower. The first Apple car will be a bit expensive and the experts will call it a fail. Can’t wait to see how Apple moves the needle on this one. Can’t say disrupts – nobody liked mobile carriers, but you’d better believe car makers can lobby harder than they did. They got electrics to play hideous noises when even internal combustion engines are silent… Read more »