Apple is reportedly still working on a 3-in-1 product that combines the functionality of a HomePod smart speaker, an Apple TV, and a FaceTime camera. Writing for Bloomberg in May 2021, journalist and prolific Apple tipster Mark Gurman had first revealed that a new HomePod device was in development. The report also revealed that the device would be a smart speaker like no other, with a built-in screen, Apple TV features, and a FaceTime camera.
Evidence of an upcoming HomePod with a built-in screen surfaced earlier this year when a Redditor shared a video of Siri saying that the answer to a user’s question is “displayed on your HomePod.” Of course, neither the original HomePod nor the HomePod mini has a screen, so the reference to a HomePod display seemed to confirm Gurman’s earlier claims that Apple is, indeed, working on such a device.
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According to the latest edition of Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter, Apple is continuing its work on a new HomePod product that not only doubles up as an Apple TV device but also has a built-in FaceTime camera. He also claimed that the company is most likely no longer working on a standalone HomePod speaker, although a new HomePod mini could still be incoming. Gurman’s latest assertions line up with the recent discovery of a new Apple patent for an “electronic device with visual feedback.” Rumors following the news of the patent filing suggested that Apple could be developing something along the lines of Google’s Nest Hub Max, although there haven’t been any new concrete leaks that could confirm those claims.
A HomePod Speaker With Apple TV And FaceTime Camera
As for Gurman’s report from last year, it claimed that the upcoming device would allow viewers to watch Apple TV content and let them play video games like a standard Apple TV box. It would also let users indulge in some FaceTime chat, while the HomePod functionality would let users stream music on it. Being a smart hub device, it would also support Apple’s Siri digital assistant out-of-the-box. Gurman also claimed that the development of the device was in its early stages and that the company could eventually decide not to go ahead with it after all. However, the latest developments now suggest that it could still be very much part of Apple’s plans.
Launched in 2018, the HomePod never really became as popular as the Amazon Echo, and Apple decided to discontinue it last year. The company, however, is still supporting it with software updates. On the other hand, the HomePod mini devices have been relatively more popular, thanks mainly to their more affordable price tags. Hence, it wouldn’t be a massive surprise if Apple decides to invest further in the HomePod brand to launch a differentiated product with multiple functionalities, especially now that the company has combined its HomePod and Apple TV divisions.