Apple could combine HomePod speaker, Apple TV and smart camera for ultimate smart home device

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HomePod in China
Apple's got an intriguing concept for a next-gen smart home device.
Photo: Apple

Apple is working on a new smart home product that would combine Apple TV, a HomePod speaker and a camera for FaceTime or Zoom-style video conferencing, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The company “has been a laggard in the smart-home space, but [this] versatile new device in early development could change that,” according to the story, which describes the in-development product as “Apple’s most ambitious smart-home hardware offering to date.”

The report also notes that Apple is considering a “high-end speaker” with a touch screen to compete with other models produced by Amazon and Google. A particularly intriguing tidbit notes that Apple “explored connecting the iPad to the speaker with a robotic arm that can move to follow a user around a room.”

All of these devices are said to be in the early stages. There is no guarantee that they ship.

Could Apple make this a hit?

It’s definitely an intriguing concept that could be big for Apple if done right. However, it also folds in multiple products that haven’t exactly set the world on fire — or been Apple’s big focus.

Apple TV has been, to varying degrees, a “hobby” since it debuted in 2007. Apple released multiple iterations since then (it’s currently on its fifth), but the set-top box remains a bit player. According to Bloomberg, Apple commanded just 2% of the streaming device market in 2020.

Meanwhile, Apple seemed to throw in the towel on HomePod earlier this year, ditching the larger model to focus on the HomePod mini. HomePod reportedly garnered just 10% of the smart speaker market for most of its life.

Apple also lags when it comes to home automation. HomeKit — Apple’s smart home platform — supports fewer products than rival services made by Google and Amazon.

Add to that the fact that FaceTime failed to enjoy a pandemic bump, even as usage of services like Zoom skyrocketed.

In all, it’s hard to know whether a hybrid device spanning these areas would show Apple getting serious about the smart home — or just combining a bunch of products that gained little traction to … well, cumulatively gain little traction.

Do you think this would be a winning product for Apple? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Bloomberg