Its smart home offerings have been decidedly lack-lustre in comparison to big-hitters like Google and Amazon, so Apple is apparently working on a new product to revive its relevance in this space.
The new device will be a TV device that takes its Apple TV, combines it with a HomePod speaker, and adds a camera for video calls, according to Bloomberg’ source.
As well as this combo-box, Apple is apparently also working on a smart speaker that has a display screen, like Amazon’s Echo Show or Google’s Nest Hub.
Both devices are said to be in their early development stages, with plans subject to change, so nothing is set in stone for actual release any time soon.
If the unannounced Apple TV device comes to fruition, it would be a multi-functional product for the smart home. As a TV device, it could offer access to games and the streaming video services supported by Apple TV, and with its built-in speaker it would likely provide an upgrade from standard TV speakers or eradicate the need for a soundbar.
In keeping with the smart home offerings of its competitors, Apple’s new TV-speaker box would also support HomePod features like music playback and Siri voice assistant controls.
So why the camera? Apple have added this to the box to allow video calling.
The second device in the works, as reported last month by Bloomberg, is a smart display that combines iPad and HomePod functions, similar to what Amazon and Google already offer.
Like the TV box, this device would also offer video chat features, but instead of going via a connected TV, it would use its own built-in screen.
Apple is said to have explored using a robotic arm to rotate the display and track users.
Apple’s existing smart home devices have focused on one or two key areas, but the two new proposed devices would be more multi-functional. This could be a result of Apple merging its HomePod and Apple TV engineering groups in 2020, as Bloomberg reported.
This all comes just in time for Apple TV Plus subscribers to enjoy the projected influx of new original movies produced exclusively for the streaming platform.