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Apple is developing Apple TV with a camera and speaker


 Apple is developing Apple TV with a camera and speaker

According to a new report by Bloomberg, Apple is developing a new product that combines the Apple TV and the HomePod smart speaker and includes a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart home functions.

Apple is developing Apple TV with a camera and speaker

Apple is lagging behind in the smart home space, but the new versatile product currently in development could change that, as it is supposed to be equipped with the hardware needed to fulfill a variety of roles.

Other capabilities of the product include the standard Apple TV functions, such as: watching videos and games, in addition to the uses of smart speakers, such as: playing music and using Apple's digital Siri assistant.

If launched, this product represents Apple's most ambitious smart home offering to date.

The Cupertino, California-based tech giant is also considering launching an advanced touch-screen speaker to better compete with market leaders Google and Amazon.

Such a device combines an iPad with a HomePod speaker and also includes a video-chatting camera.

And Apple explored connecting an iPad to a loudspeaker using a robotic arm that could move to follow the user around the room, similar to the latest Echo Show from Amazon.

The development of both Apple products is still in its infancy, and the company can decide not to launch either of them or change the key features.

The new products may help revive Apple's fortunes in the smart home category, as it captured 2 percent of the broadcast TV market in 2020, while it owned less than 10 percent of the smart speaker market.

In March, Apple discontinued production of the high-end HomePod, while the Apple TV had not been updated for more than three years.

And last year, the company launched the HomePod mini, which was better off given its lower price.

Apple merged both the HomePod and Apple TV groups of engineers in 2020, standardizing the core software working across both devices, and that was an early hint that it might merge hardware lines.

The built-in speaker and the Apple TV are not a category of products that Google and Amazon have taken seriously yet, although Facebook does sell the Portal video chat device that uses a TV as a display.

Amazon sells the Fire TV Cube with a small speaker, and Amazon tops the smart display category, a term given to smart screen speakers.

Amazon released smart speakers with screens for the first time in 2017 with the launch of the Echo Show.

Google offers 7 and 10-inch versions of the Nest Hub, which pairs the Google Assistant with a speaker and screen.

Amazon is also working on a new speaker with a user-wall screen that could function as a smart home hub.

And Bloomberg reported in March that Apple was exploring new smart speakers with screens and cameras.

Apple's HomeKit software - which allows third-party devices to be controlled with iPhones, iPads, and HomePods via an app or Siri - supports fewer products than competing systems from Amazon and Google.

Apple's new hardware won't change that on its own, but it could give Apple and potential partners new reasons to invest in Apple's larger smart home ecosystem.