- Daily Zen
Apple is bolstering its smart home devices space with the introduction of a new hybrid device— a combination of an Apple TV and a smart speaker with a screen, according to news reports.
The combined device will have a 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 Bloomberg.
One can watch videos play games, use the smart speaker to listen to music, and use Apple’s Siri digital assistant. It is Apple’s most ambitious smart-home hardware offering to date.
A separate device — a “high-end” speaker — is also in the works, according to the report.
The speaker will come with a touch screen to be one up on the market leaders such as Google and Amazon’s devices. The touch screen will merge an iPad with a HomePod speaker along with a camera, according to the report.
Both devices are in the early stages of development and will take some time to reach the market.
Apple combined its HomePod and Apple TV engineering divisions in 2020 and even the software that runs on both devices. This was in preparation for integrating its smart home production line.
Apple has lagged behind its competitors, Google and Amazon and even Samsung in the smart-home space. Apple occupied barely 2% of the market share in the TV streaming device market in 2020 and its HomePod 10% of the smart speaker market, according to Strategy Analytics, a tech analysis company.
Apple’s HomeKit software that supports third-party devices via iPhones, iPads and HomePods via an app or Siri supports fewer gadgets than Amazon and Google.
Apple discontinued its HomePod in March in favor of the new HomePod Mini, which is more economically priced and has done well in the market.
Apple’s only competitor in the market for a combined TV set-top box and a speaker is Facebook, which has a Portal video chat device that can be plugged on to a TV for a display. Amazon has Fire TV Cube Box that comes with a small speaker.
Amazon leads the market in smart speakers with screens, which it launched in 2017 with ECHO Show. Google has Nest Hub that pairs Google Assistant with a speaker.
These new Apple devices will certainly give a push to the larger Apple smart-home ecosystem.
Apple TV has not had any updates in the last three years. There are rumors of a new Apple TV remote with improved Siri functionality. Apple is all set to hold its first Apple event on April 20, Tuesday, with a slew of new launches line up, including Pro updates, new AirPods 3, iPad Mini, Apple Pencil 3, iMacs and maybe an Apple TV with 4K.