Apple has been a laggard in the smart-home space, but a versatile new device in early development could change that. From a Bloomberg report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The device’s other capabilities would include standard Apple TV box functions like watching video and gaming plus smart speaker uses such as playing music and using Apple’s Siri digital assistant.
If launched, it would represent Apple’s most ambitious smart-home hardware offering to date. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is also mulling the launch of a high-end speaker with a touch screen to better compete with market leaders Google and Amazon.com, the people said. Such a device would combine an iPad with a HomePod speaker and also include a camera for video chat. Apple has explored connecting the iPad to the speaker with a robotic arm that can move to follow a user around a room, similar to Amazon’s latest Echo Show gadget. Development of both Apple products is still in the early stages, and the company could decide to launch neither or change key features. The company often works on new concepts and devices without ultimately shipping them.
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