Apple is reportedly working on an iPad-like smart home device designed to compete against Amazon’s Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub products, according to Bloomberg. It would reportedly be “essentially a low-end iPad” that would operate as a hub to control thermostats, lights and security systems, while also allowing FaceTime chats. It could be mounted on walls using magnetic clips or positioned more as a home hub-type device than a regular iPad.
The company has also discussed the idea of building smart home displays larger than iPads, though there are no other details on those. None of the smart home products would be ready until 2024 at earliest.
Rumors about potential Apple smart displays have popped up before. Last August, it was reported that the company had four smart home devices in its labs, including a kitchen accessory that combined an iPad with a speaker. (In the same report, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman correctly predicted the new HomePod model that arrived yesterday.)
Apple is also reportedly working on a new version of Apple TV, set for release in the first half of 2024. It would have a faster processor but carry the same design as the current model.
Smart home devices with touchscreens represent a potentially lucrative market segment still largely untapped by Apple. Amazon makes several versions of its Echo Show smart display, with prices ranging from around $30 for the Echo Show 8 to $250 for the Echo Show 15. Google has the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, priced at $100 and $229 respectively.
Apple just made a key update to its smart home family yesterday. Following the launch of new MacBook Pro and Mac mini models, it released a new $300 version of its larger HomePad that was discontinued last year. Notably, it features new smart home features along with updates like improved audio, an S7 chip and a lower price. Those include a built-in temperature and humidity sensor, along with a feature called Sound Recognition can monitor for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and send an alert to your iPhone.