Apple urged to develop personal robots

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Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White suggests Apple make personal robots. Perhaps Apple could install Siri into a female robot like Maria from the...Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White suggests Apple make personal robots. 

If you like Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) personal assistant Siri as a disembodied voice from your iPhone, imagine what she’d be like in robot form.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White has, and he thinks Apple should pursue it.

While all the talk this week was on Apple possibly entering the car market, White said robotics would fit into Apple’s wheelhouse.

“In our view, ‘Apple Car’ has the potential to be the ‘iPhone of the Future,’ and we doubt Apple’s reach will stop here,” White said in a research report Friday. “For example, we believe the personal robot category offers great potential over the next decade and fits well with Apple’s skill set.”

Personal robots could be a longer-term opportunity for Apple, White said.

“Given the growing enthusiasm around personal robots at International CES last month, we believe Apple has an opportunity to leverage its heritage in the computer market, technology innovation in mobile devices and reputation for making user-friendly solutions to develop personal robots for the home,” White said.

White told IBD he can envision Apple doing a multipurpose robot that could be a personal companion for the elderly, entertain children, and provide security and surveillance for the home. Apple could use Siri as the start of a basic personality for the robot.

If that’s the case, it would leave the household cleaning to robots like iRobot‘s (NASDAQ:IRBT) popular Roomba vacuum.

Apple is picky about the few projects it decides to pursue, and it’s notoriously secretive. The company has yet to comment on the flurry of reports that say it is developing an electric car under a project code-named Titan.

Apple is pushing its team to begin production of the vehicle as early as 2020, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

If it goes all-in, Apple would compete with Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), General Motors (NYSE:GM) and others in the electric car market. Many observers doubt Apple will be moving into the business of making complete cars, however.

Still, Apple has been aggressively hiring engineers from Tesla, Ford (NYSE:F) and elsewhere for the Titan project, 9to5Mac reported.

Angel investor and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis even predicts that Apple will pay $75 billion to buy Tesla in the next 18 months. Tesla’s current market cap is $27 billion.

All this speculation hasn’t hurt Apple’s stock, which rose 0.8% Friday to a new closing high of 129.49. Earlier in the day, it hit a new all-time high of 129.50. The stock has been on a tear lately, posting new record highs in six of the last eight trading days.


Apple stock has more upside, Goldman Sachs says.