According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could be working on a new HomePod device that would feature a built-in display for 2024. The rumor seems to be based on third-party supply chain companies, such as Tianma, a Chinese display manufacturer.
This new product in the HomePod lineup would look completely different from existing HomePods as it would feature a 7-inch display. In other words, it would look like a speaker with a small tablet (or a small tablet with a speaker) like the Amazon Echo Show or Google’s Nest Hub.
Kuo believes that Apple is in the middle of revamping its smart home strategy with new devices and features. In addition to the HomePod Mini, Apple recently released a new premium HomePod with a familiar look. It looks like the model that debuted in 2018 but with brand new internal components.
There’s a reason why Apple is focusing more on the smart home. Matter, a new smart home standard, is supposed to unify smart home devices — and Apple is one of the launch partners. The new HomePod supports Thread, the Matter-backed wireless protocol specifically designed for IoT devices.
“The new Matter smart home connectivity standard gives users more choice and interoperability to connect a wide variety of smart home accessories across different ecosystems,” Apple’s vice president, Hardware Engineering and Operations Matthew Costello told TechCrunch’s Brian Heater last month. “With support for Thread, the new HomePod can serve as a border router and securely enable communications to Thread-based accessories located throughout the home.”
Apple is also the company behind the iPad. Adding a touchscreen display to a smart speaker would make sense for the company as many people already use and like their iPad. It would be a familiar interface and could also potentially run some popular iPad apps out of the box.
In January, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said that Apple has also been working on a smart display that could be used to control your smart home. Essentially, it would be a low-end iPad that you could mount on a wall to control your lights, thermostat and more.
It’s unclear whether Ming-Chi Kuo are talking about the same device or not. This smart home tablet could carry the HomePod brand, or Apple could be working on two separate devices — a wall-mounted tablet and a countertop HomePod with a tablet.