With slowing innovation and sales, Apple needs a new shiny toy.
On the heels of the recent news that huge amounts of key people are leaving Apple, one has to wonder what's going on over there. Are they ever going to do something amazing again? iPad sales are steadily on the decline and now with reports that Apple is cutting iPhone production this year, they need a new exciting product to reinvigorate the brand. Apple has also been slowly stepping away from making tools for professionals, so it's a fit, to me, that Apple could make an awesome consumer product: The Apple Bot.
Think about it. Apple is a hardware and software company. They engineer their products from the inside out. They have an OS that could be adapted onto a closed product of their making, typical of their usual methodology. They'd be making a computer on wheels. And, considering they've backed away from their ambitious car project, maybe this is a safe middle ground.
Apple also has Siri, the voice assistant. While it's universally known to be one of the least useful of the bunch (in an increasingly crowded market), it has been in the field for quite some, around five years. That's a lot of time for a product to collect data and improve. Apple could again leverage its existing developments and use the robot as a catalyst for Siri, a la Amazon Echo/Alexa. Aside from adding custom commands for the robot, it would do everything else Siri already does, but hopefully with some refinement.
One of the most important reasons for developing a new product is the target market. Would Apple users buy an Apple Bot? I think so. Apple is in a prime position for a sleek home robot. We're talking about a demographic that is into tech, has excess money to spend on their premium devices, and generally have a healthy consumer appetite. Apple could also leverage their existing products like the iPhone and Apple Watch for extended robot functionality. "Find my phone" or "follow me" using your phone or watch as a beacon. As an appliance-like device, maybe it could even act as multiple functions. Router? Wireless charger? Home automation? They already have an established eco-system with a fairly loyal userbase that they could leverage.
Of course, logistically it seems sound, but then again it would be up to them to find what would truly make it useful instead of a novelty, which maybe some products already suffer from. People have been clamoring for a house assistant robot for decades, and I think most people are willing to jump in. Marketing and eco-system leverage would be key for success, things Apple is quite savvy at.