One would think that the self-evident answer to the question posited in this post’s headline would be “No,” followed by a pregnant pause, a licking of the lips and then followed it up with the words “You idiot.”
And, in fact, that probably is the answer. But if Apple’s not working on a robot, then why the heck is Apple hiring one of the country’s foremost robotics experts, John Morrell?
Now, by “robot,” we don’t necessarily mean a human-like cyborg. Morrell, for example, was one of the leading engineers by Steve Wozniak’s robotic steed, the Segway. Up until recently, he was working over at Yale’s newly opened Center for Engineering Innovation & Design, overseeing research and making robots that clibed stairs and opened doors.
Then, all of a sudden, Morrell quit Yale and moved to Apple, where he was reunited with much of the original Segway team. What’s he doing here?
There seems to be hopeful speculation amongst Morrell’s roboticist friends that he is working on a robot that could “transform health care” but that doesn’s sound likely. From BusinessWeek, he may have just gone to be with his friends:
Evidence on LinkedIn (LNKD) suggests that Morrell has been reunited with much of the original Segway team, including Doug Field, Segway’s former chief technology officer who is now Apple’s vice president for product design. Most of these folks work on Apple’s flagship devices rather than odd Segway offshoots. And Morrell works in the Mac software group, according to a person familiar with Apple’s engineering teams, who asked to remain anonymous because he wasn’t authorized to speak for the company.
Here’s my guess. Morrell was working at Yale researching how humans interact with machines. Perhaps, then, he’s working on bringing Siri to the Mac, or a touchscreen iMac of some kind?