Gurman writes that Apple’s testing four home-focussed devices right now, but warns that none of these are guaranteed to become fully fledged products. Two of those four are apparently a new HomePod and an updated HomePod mini, but the other two more experimental projects sound like completely new devices for Apple.
Gurman says one prototype is a blend of an iPad and a speaker intended for use in the kitchen, while the other mixes a HomePod with an Apple TV and a camera for the living room. The former certainly sounds like a smart display along the lines of an Amazon Echo Show 10 (pictured above) or Google Nest Hub, while the latter sounds like no other device currently on the market.
This isn’t the first time Gurman’s reported on these devices. He’s said in the past (opens in new tab) that the iPad/speaker combo could be attached via a moveable arm that would then allow the screen to follow the user. New iPads can already do software-based tracking with the Center Stage feature, but physically moving the device around on an arm would likely provide even more effective tracking.
Although Apple’s had limited success with the HomePod mini smart speaker recently, it’s not yet sold a smart display. You can turn an iPad into a home hub via HomeKit, but that ability’s disappearing with the newest version of iPadOS. Perhaps this sneaky withdrawal of this feature through iPadOS 16 is Apple’s way of making room for this new product.
These rumored prototypes are still apparently some way off from launching though, if they do at all. Gurman claims that these four products could appear either at the end of next year or in 2024, so it sounds best to not go looking for them when the iPhone 14 launches next month.
If instead you want a smart display right now, you’re better off checking out our guide to the best smart displays, or using an iPad with HomeKit until Apple removes that ability.