Apple reportedly plans to release an iPad cradle with a built-in speaker. The device will function as a HomePod smart speaker, and when a tablet is placed in it will become a smart home hub with a touchscreen.
The company also allegedly continues work on a single device that will perform the same task.
A marriage of iPad and HomePod
Apple’s HomeKit is a home-automation system that lets users control smart switches, smart bulbs, etc., from iPhone, iPad, Mac and Siri. HomePods are designed to act as hubs for a smart home, but can only be controlled via voice commands. Rival companies offer home hubs with screens, providing additional control options.
One of Apple’s answers to these will be a smart hub and speaker that acts as a cradle for an iPad, according to Bloomberg. This would allow users to control their HomeKit accessories from a touchscreen. The screen also would prove convenient when setting up music to play through the dock’s speaker. It could work wonders for video conferencing, too.
No hardware details are available at this time, though the cradle could launch “as soon as 2023,” according to Bloomberg. There’s no word on a price.
Two more home-automation options
Reports that Apple is also working on a separate smart home hub with a built-in display have been around for well over a year. “The idea is to offer something that users can place on a kitchen counter, in the living room or on their nightstand,” notes Bloomberg.
The hybrid device would directly take on the Amazon Echo Show, substituting Siri and HomeKit for Alexa.
Apparently, Cupertino intends to introduce both smart home products: one smart speaker with an integrated screen and another that acts as an iPad cradle.
Apple is also supposedly developing HomePod 2: a larger smart speaker expected to provide better audio performance than the current HomePod mini.