A new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple is in the early stages of developing a new accessory that blends features from both Apple TV and the company’s HomePod smart speaker. The product is said to include a camera allowing for video calls. Apple is also reportedly working on an additional smart speaker that includes a display, presumably to provide a product with features that more closely align with those available on Amazon’s Echo Show or Google’s Nest Hub.
If the reports are accurate, the accessory would be a veritable Swiss army knife. Its hardware would allow access to AppleTV+’s library of games and streaming content. Its speakers, presumably providing a level of fidelity similar to those found in current HomePod models, would surely be a significant upgrade over those found in most TV sets taking on a role usually filled by a dedicated sound bar. Siri voice assistant and music playback would also be included. A built-in camera is the cherry on top, and would let the device serve as a one-stop-shop for video calls with platforms like Facebook Portal.
The second device in the report would seemingly integrate features of an iPad into a HomePod-like product. Similar to the other item, this product would allow video chats thanks to its built-in display taking the place of a TV. Reports say that Apple has also dedicated research into the item including a robotic arm that would, like Amazon’s Echo Show, allow the screen to track users as well as rotate the display.
The rumored devices would provide a much broader set of features than Apple’s current smart home roster. Giving credence to the rumors, Apple merged its engineering groups for Apple TV and HomePod last year.
Apple TV has been longer overdue for a hardware refresh. The device hasn’t received that kind of attention since 2017, and newly revealed code implies that it might soon allow support for 120Hz refresh rates. Apple has also recently switched gears to focus on the HomePod mini, a smaller, more economical alternative to the now discontinued original HomePod. All signs point to a an energizing update of Apple’s home entertainment devices.