Apple could be looking at a twist on the Apple TV, which offers a speaker and a cameras, making it an all-in-one device to connect to a TV. The company is also said to be considering merging the HomePod with an iPad display to rival the Amazon Echo Show.
Apple’s prominence in homes has been rather muted: while it dominates the tablet market with the iPad and has a big chunk of the smartphone market with the iPhone, when it comes to home devices – Apple TV and HomePod, the company hasn’t been so successful.
Sources talking to Bloomberg – often reliable for future Apple plans – suggest that Apple is considering a number of options to address the shortfall in this segment.
The first is a refreshed Apple TV device that integrates a speaker and has a camera for FaceTime. The absence of a display for this device would suggest that you’re meant to connect it to an existing TV, bringing the benefits of connectivity, streaming via Apple’s platform, boosted sound quality and video calling.
It sounds a little like the Roku Streambar, a device that offers streaming services via a compact soundbar, designed to boost your TV’s offering from one box.
The camera, however, raises more questions than answers when it comes to implementation, although TV speakers often advise that they are placed level with your ears – which might put the camera at the correct height for FaceTime too.
The advantage it would off would be to leverage a popular Apple service – FaceTime – while moving Apple TV into contention to supply all the TV streaming services and tempt users away from Roku or Fire TV.
The second device we’ve heard about before, putting a screen on a HomePod to create Apple’s version of the Echo Show.
Bloomberg says that it will feature a robotic arm, so the iPad can track you around the room, in the same way that the latest Echo Show 10 will. Again, this would be ideal for FaceTime and give Apple a home device that does more than just play music.
There’s no confirmation that either of these devices will come to market and Apple does face some challenges here. Google and Amazon dominate this space with affordable devices, wide interoperability with third-party devices and services, while Apple’s track record hasn’t been so strong in these regards.