Apple is working on a new version of Apple TV which will integrate a HomePod speaker and a FaceTime camera. This bit of news comes from a report by Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, who has a reliable track record with Apple news.
Apple TV + HomePod + FaceTime: 3 devices in one
As per Bloomberg, Apple is working on a product that will combine the functionality of Apple TV, HomePod and also feature a camera for FaceTime. The connected TV will be used to display the video call.
The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.
Of course, it will still have Apple TV features that tvOS supports like playing games, streaming video, and installing various apps.
The device’s other capabilities would include standard Apple TV box functions like watching video and gaming plus smart speaker uses such as playing music and using Apple’s Siri digital assistant. If launched, it would represent Apple’s most ambitious smart-home hardware offering to date.
Apple is also considering another high-end speaker with a touch screen to compete against Google and Amazon. Bloomberg’s report says that the device would combine an iPad with a HomePod speaker, and include a camera for video chat. This sounds like a Google Nest Hub device that users have been asking for.
The report goes on to say that the company is also exploring how it can connect the iPad using a robotic arm so that it will follow a user around the room. Amazon’s Echo Show 10 already does this and spins around to stay focused on the user.
Apple combined its HomePod and Apple TV engineering teams in 2020, and that’s why its smart speaker also runs on a variant of tvOS now. However, we have yet to see further fruits of this change in the public. Apple has lagged behind in not only the TV set-top box market but also in the smart speaker market, with just 2% and 10% market shares respectively.
Apple’s HomeKit API is one of the biggest competitors to Google and Amazon ecosystems, however, the company has not really focused on growing as much as we would like. Apple does not sell any HomeKit accessories itself, and the number of third-party accessories that support HomeKit are less in than the competition, or more expensive if they are available.
We are not sure if Apple’s decision to shoehorn a speaker and FaceTime camera into Apple TV is a wise decision. At best, it sounds like something that could be useful in a conference room in an office, rather than be the best fit at home. Considering how expensive the original HomePod was, if Apple combines so many features into one product, the price would skyrocket.
There’s no indication as to when or if Apple might launch this new Apple TV, however, it is long overdue for an update.