Apple is reportedly working on a pair of new products that combine its strengths across connected TVs, premium audio and tablets. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the company is in the early stages of developing an Apple TV box with a HomePod speaker and camera for making video calls. Judging by the description, the device sounds like a soundbar that treads the line between a Roku Streambar (for cord-cutters who crave better audio) and Facebook’s Portal TV, which effectively turns your set into a huge video chat screen.
The second product is rumored to be a high-end speaker with an iPad for a display. Apple has apparently even explored using a robotic arm to allow the smart screen to follow you around the room. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Apple is offering something akin to Amazon’s rotating Echo Show 10.
There’s no timeline on a launch as both products are still very much in the development stage, per Bloomberg. So, there’s still a chance Apple could ditch its plans and decide not to release either. Just last month, Apple discontinued the original HomePod, which launched in 2018, in favor of the cheaper HomePod Mini. The move suggested it’s still not ready to give up on the smart home category.
By drawing on the pulling power of its more successful products, both concepts could mark a revitalized push by Apple into people’s homes. If either device ends up being produced, you can also bet that Apple will position them as privacy-focused alternatives that don’t collect anywhere near as much data as the competition.