Apple is still working on a new HomePod product that combines a speaker, Apple TV functions, and a FaceTime camera, according to latest Power On newsletter from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
In answer to a question, he writes: I absolutely do think a new HomePod is coming — specifically, a device that combines a HomePod, Apple TV and FaceTime camera. I don’t think a big stand-alone HomePod is still in development, but perhaps a new HomePod mini is coming. In any case, the combination product will probably be at the center of Apple’s approach, with HomePod minis surrounding that throughout the home.
Apple has filed for a patent (number 20220042676) for an “electronic device with visual feedback” that hints at a HomePod with a built-in display.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that electronic devices such as voice-controlled assistant devices (which would include the current HomePod mini and the discontinued HomePod) could include light-emitting components. During operation, the light-emitting component may emit patterns of light that serve as visual feedback.
Writing for Bloomberg, Gurman said in a May 2021 article that a HomePod/Apple TV device is in development. Sounds reasonable. But I hope Apple has even bigger goals.
“As part of its broader home, audio and accessories strategy, Apple has also begun early development of a HomePod speaker with a built-in screen as well as a device that combines the features of a HomePod, FaceTime camera and Apple TV,” Gurman wrote.
The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks that there’s an 80% chance this will happen. After all, Gurman is one of the most accurate leakers of Apple news. And Apple did merge its HomePod and Apple TV divisions in 2020.
What’s more, I’d love to see a HomePod/AppleTV combo that brings back the features of the late, lamented AirPort line-up. In 2016, Apple discontinued the AirPort Express, the AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule line of wireless router/backup hardware. I think it ranks as one of the top two dumb ideas the tech giant made in discontinuing products (the other is when it quit making semi-affordable Mac displays).