Apple Inc. It lags behind in the smart-home space, but the versatile new device in early development may change that.
The company is working on a product that combines an Apple TV set-top box with a homepot speaker and a camera for video conferencing with an integrated TV and other smart-home functions, which those familiar with the subject say should be identified to discuss internal matters.
Other capabilities of the device include standard Apple TV box functions and video and gaming and smart speaker applications such as playing music and using Apple’s Siri Digital Assistant. If launched, it will mark Apple’s most ambitious smart-home hardware supply to date.
People said that Cupertino, a California-based technology company, is introducing a touchscreen high-end speaker to better compete with market leaders Google and Amazon.com Inc. Such a device would connect an iPod to a home bot speaker, as well as a camera for video chat. Like Amazon’s latest Echo Show gadget, Apple is exploring how to connect an iPod speaker with a user’s robotic arm around a room.
The development of both Apple products is still in its infancy and the company may decide to introduce or change key features. The company often works on new ideas and devices without sending them to the end. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
New offers could help renew Apple’s fortunes in the smart-home segment. According to Strategy Analytics, the company accounted for 2 percent of the TV streaming device market by 2020, while the homepot smart speaker market is less than 10 percent.
In March, Apple discontinued its high-end homepage, while the Apple TV box has not been updated for more than three years. Last year, the company introduced the HomePot Mini, which performed better due to its lower price.
Read more: The Homepot Mini has a secret sensor
Apple has integrated its HomePot and Apple TV engineering teams into 2020 by integrating basic software that runs on both devices. This is an early indication that Apple may eventually integrate hardware lines.
Integrated speaker and TV box is not yet a product type that Google and Amazon have addressed seriously, however Facebook Inc. sells a portal video chat device that uses a TV as its display and Amazon sells a Fire TV cube box with a small speaker. However Amazon leads the smart display type, which is the term for smart speakers with screens.
Amazon first popularized smart speakers with screens by introducing the original Echo Show. Alphabet Inc. offers Google 7- and 10-inch versions of its Nest Hub, which integrates the Google Assistant with speaker and screen. Amazon operates on a new speaker with a screen for the user’s wall that can serve as a smart home hub. In March, Bloomberg News reported that Apple was exploring new smart speakers with displays and cameras.
Apple’s HomeKit software – which allows third-party devices to be controlled by an app or Siri via iPhones, iPods and homepots – support fewer products than Amazon and Google’s rival systems. The new Apple devices will not only change that, but may give Apple and potential partners new reasons to invest in the larger Apple smart-home ecosystem.