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Apple Said to Be Exploring Foray Into Home Robotics, Developing Products

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Apple Said to Be Exploring Foray Into Home Robotics, Developing Products


Apple is said to be exploring the possibility of the company entering the home robotics sector, shortly after the company reportedly cancelled its project to develop a self-driving car. According to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources aware of the company’s plans, the company is in the process of developing two robotic devices designed to be used indoors. Earlier this year, the company began selling the Vision Pro mixed reality headset — its first new product since the Apple Watch was launched in 2015.

According to the report, the iPhone maker is reportedly working on two potential products. The first one is a robotic device that sits atop a table and moves a display around using robotics. The second product, which is also in development, is a mobile robot that can follow a user around their house. These products are not ready to be launched, but the former is said to be in a more advanced stage than the mobile robot, as per the report.

Development of hardware for the robotics project was reportedly overseen by Matt Costello and Brian Lynch, Apple executives who work on the company’s home products. The company is said to be looking for its next product to generate additional revenue, following the launch of the Apple Vision Pro earlier this year.

The Bloomberg report also states that Apple was planning on a three-pronged approach for new products in the coming years. One of these — a autonomous car said to be in development for over a decade — has been cancelled, while the company continues to focus on smart home and mixed reality products, such as the first-generation Apple Vision Pro.

The rumoured robotics-enabled products from Apple would likely compete with existing products from companies like Amazon’s $1,599 (roughly Rs. 1.33 lakh) invitation-only Astro robot that is available in the US. There’s currently no word from Apple — the company is known for keeping its products and services under wraps until they are ready to be announced — on plans to develop or sell smart home products equipped with robotic features, and it is possible that these initial devices might never be sold by the company.


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Samsung Is Bringing Metaverse Game Wilder World to Its Smart TVs

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Samsung Is Bringing Metaverse Game Wilder World to Its Smart TVs


Samsung, the South Korean tech giant, has been taking small steps to engage with Web3 without directly exposing its massive user base to volatile digital assets. In a fresh development, Samsung has announced a partnership with metaverse game Wilder World. Through this partnership, Wilder World will provide NFT rewards to fifteen customers of Samsung’s exclusive Web3 TV bundle. This deal, for Wilder World, will offer the game inroads into millions of houses through Samsung’s smart televisions.

A free-to-roam metaverse ecosystem, Wilder World is primarily a competitive racing game that launched for alpha testing in December 2023 and will begin a wider rollout this year. The team behind the game announced its partnership with Samsung via an official post on X on Wednesday.

In Samsung’s next sale of exclusive Web3 TV bundles, fifteen select buyers will get Wilder World NFTs as rewards. Through this partnership, the metaverse game expects to add new players to its ecosystem.

Samsung, catching up with the advancements in emerging technologies, is essentially looking to connect with a newer generation of customers. The Seoul-based company is hence integrating Web3 elements like the metaverse and NFTs with its newer range of products.

Samsung has long maintained its lead in the television market. In 2023, the company reportedly occupied a 30.1 percent market share of televisions sold globally, which was slightly higher than the previous year’s 29.7 percent. With its new initiatives, Samsung could directly bring Web3 technologies to its vast user base.

This is not the first time that the tech mammoth has taken a Web3-friendly approach. In April 2023, for instance, Samsung teamed up with Crypto.com to bring asset trading services on devices from the Galaxy Z fold series.

In 2022, Samsung tied up with partners Theta Labs and Nifty Gateway to get NFTs to its smart TV and smartphone ecosystems.

In fact, the same year Samsung introduced the world’s first TV-based NFT explorer. Later that year, the company started rolling out smart TV models that came with features like NFT buying and management.


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Apple to Face Lawsuit Claiming AirTags Are Weapon of Stalkers

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Apple to Face Lawsuit Claiming AirTags Are Weapon of Stalkers


Apple Inc. lost a bid to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that its AirTag devices help stalkers track their victims. US District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco ruled Friday that three plaintiffs in the class-action suit had made sufficient claims for negligence and product liability, though he dismissed the others.

About three dozen women and men who filed the suit alleged that Apple was warned of the risks posed by its AirTags and argued the company could be legally blamed under California law when the tracking devices are used for misconduct.

In the three claims that survived, the plaintiffs “allege that, when they were stalked, the problems with the AirTag’s safety features were substantial, and that those safety defects caused their injuries,” Chhabria wrote.

Apple had argued it designed the AirTag with “industry-first” safety measures and shouldn’t be held responsible when the product is misused.

“Apple may ultimately be right that California law did not require it to do more to diminish the ability of stalkers to use AirTags effectively, but that determination cannot be made at this early stage,” the judge wrote in allowing the three plaintiffs to pursue their claims.

A spokesperson for the company didn’t immediately return an email requesting comment on the ruling.

Apple was accused in the case of negligently releasing the AirTag despite warnings by advocacy groups and others that the product would be re-purposed for surveillance. “With a price point of just $29 it has become the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers,” according to the complaint.

Apple developed a feature that alerts users when an AirTag might be tracking them, but that and other safety measures aren’t enough, according to the suit.

Tile Inc. is facing similar allegations that its tracking devices connected to Amazon.com Inc.’s Bluetooth network lack adequate protections against stalking.

The case is Hughes v. Apple, Inc., 3:22-cv-07668, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

© 2024 Bloomberg LP


(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Panasonic Launches Matter-Enabled Room Air Conditioners in India

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Panasonic Launches Matter-Enabled Room Air Conditioners in India


Panasonic has launched its new lineup of air conditioners (AC) for 2024, which includes its range of Matter-enabled room ACs. Matter is a new universal standard of connectivity for smart home appliances that allows interoperability through brand-agnostic mobile apps. With this launch, Panasonic has become India’s first brand to launch ACs that follow this protocol. The Japanese brand has launched 60 models, including the Matter-enabled ACs in 1.0-ton, 1.5-ton, and 2.0-ton variants.

Announcing its lineup of ACs, Fumiyasu Fujimori, Managing Director, PMIN, Panasonic Life Solutions India, said, “The new line-up of ACs, comprising of India’s first Matter-enabled RACs will not only provide inter-operability but is simple to use, reliable and secure. By seamlessly connecting with other Matter-certified devices and platforms, they will facilitate a smarter and more efficient use of energy, optimizing comfort while minimizing environmental impact.”

The Matter-enabled ACs can be connected through the company’s Miraie app, which also adopts the same connectivity standard. Users can also use any other Matter-enabled app to control the appliance. These new models are available across major offline outlets, e-commerce platforms and through the company website.

What is Matter, the universal standard of connectivity for smart home appliances

In recent years, a big focus in the consumer tech space has been on interoperability and unified solutions. Last year, Xiaomi launched its HyperOS, which replaced the MIUI system to bring a single interface to connect and unify all its IoT devices. On the hardware side, Apple finally ditched the Lightning port in the iPhone 15 series in favour of the USB Type-C port to comply with the European Union’s new rules of bringing a unified port for all consumer electronic devices.

Matter is a similar protocol for software unification and connectivity of smart home and IoT appliances. The universal standard was brought up by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly known as Zigbee Alliance), a group of more than 500 companies. The first time this protocol made the headlines was in 2019 when Apple, Google, and Amazon joined hands with Zigbee Alliance to create a single unified connectivity system for smart homes.

It solves a core issue for smart home owners, which is managing multiple apps to control the various smart appliances in the house. The situation has become similar to the late 90s and early 2000s when users were forced to keep multiple remote controls to use their appliances till universal remotes came about. Matter aims to mirror a similar solution through a networking protocol to connect compatible devices and systems regardless of their brand, model, or origin of manufacturing.

The universal connectivity standard focuses on a four-pronged solution. First is interoperability, which will allow users to buy any smart home appliance, from a smart TV to smart lights, without worrying about downloading its companion app to control it. The second is simplicity, as it ditches complex setup processes and offers a simple UI to connect all the devices in your home via WiFi. The third issue it tackles is security, as Matter uses an encryption system to ensure the data shared between the different devices are protected from any outsider trying to hack the user. Finally, it also addresses the reliability problem as the protocol is designed to evolve and adapt to newer smart devices that might be invented in the future.


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