Although they look and seem like they’re made just for playing music, smart speakers are, of course, a lot more capable than simple wireless speakers. In fact, they were born to showcase the power of AI-powered smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri, which is also why the speaker quality of the first generation of speakers left much to be desired. While controlling your devices and appliances using your voice felt almost magical, it also became quite tiring quickly, especially when you could do things faster using an app on your phone. That’s the reason why smart speakers with displays, a.k.a. smart displays, were born, and that design might finally be coming to Apple’s ecosystem, potentially bringing life back to stagnant waters.
Designer: Apple (via MacWorld)
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a new smart display coming from the major brands. The latest Amazon Echo Show last year is actually just an upgraded Echo Show 5. Google launched the 2nd-generation Nest Hub in 2021, though some might argue that the Google Pixel Tablet and its speaker dock actually fall under this category. After all, most of these smart displays do look like smart speakers with a tablet stuck on top of them.
That design might be coming to Apple’s smart home device category, thanks to clues found in the latest beta testing of tvOS 17.4. There is no direct evidence, of course, just a new device codenamed “Z314” that just happens to share some internal hardware with the iPad mini 6. The HomePod was actually discovered to already be running tvOS, which would have been weird if it didn’t eventually get some visual capabilities. Again, much of these are based on speculation, but the hints seem to be building up and pointing toward a spring 2024 reveal.
A HomePod with a touch screen, even just a 7-inch one as indicated by rumors, will offer a significant upgrade to people’s user experience. Although the HomePod already offers physical controls for quickly controlling music, anything else has to be done either through Siri or through a connected iPhone or iPad. The latter scenario, however, can cause additional battery drain to mobile devices, so a dedicated display will go a long way in making it more convenient to access Apple Home settings, media controls, and more. Of course, sticking a tablet on top of a HomePod isn’t the only possible design option available, as our very own Sarang Sheth explored in a piece that envisioned an aesthetic that matched Apple’s style more closely.
That said, it also isn’t certain how far Apple will go in what features it will provide on that screen. The likes of the Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest Hub offer video capabilities, though that has also been a thorny subject as far as YouTube is concerned. Apple is traditionally even more conservative in what it allows on its devices, so we can probably expect functionality limited to smart home control, FaceTime, and, of course, its own library of tunes and videos.
The post Apple HomePod with a Screen is coming to revive a forgotten smart home category first appeared on Yanko Design.