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Apple working on iPad-like smart home hub, new Apple TV, and iPad/HomePod hybrid

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Apple is working on a slate of smart-home products that should be unveiled in the coming years. According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, the Cupertino firm plans at least three devices to hit the stores in 2023, 2024, and beyond.

One is a low-end iPad that will function as a smart home hub. After Apple removed the iPad as a hub to control the Home app, the company might launch a smart display that can control thermostats, lights, and feature FaceTime capabilities, etc.

Bloomberg explains why Apple would follow this movement:

While the iPad already has smart-home features, standalone smart-home devices — often designed as countertop or wall-mounted appliances — have grown increasingly popular. Amazon sells a line of Echo Show products with displays, while Google offers its Nest Hub. And the latter company — part of Alphabet Inc. — is readying a Pixel Tablet with an optional stand. Apple also has discussed creating a home stand for its current iPads.

In addition to this low-end iPad as a smart home hub, Apple is also readying a new Apple TV for 2024. It’s said to feature an upgraded chip, but it likely won’t support 8K video streaming as it’s a “nascent video format.” Currently, Apple’s set-top box only accounts for 5% of the market share, while Amazon accounts for 30% and Roku for 28%.

Last but not least, Gurman gives another tidbit regarding the iPad/HomePod hybrid. He’s been reporting for a while that Apple could launch an Amazon Echo Show competitor by combining a HomePod with an iPad.

The journalist says this product “has suffered setbacks, though that project is still ongoing.”

The device was initially targeted for release this year, but the timing has slipped. Likewise, the smart displays have seen their development schedules delayed and likely won’t launch until next year at the earliest. 

While we wait for these new products, it’s important to note that Apple just released an Apple TV 4K at the end of last year, and a new HomePod model is arriving at stores on February 3rd.

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