Apple's working on bringing an 'iPad-like display' to its HomePod smart speaker

Apple HomePod 2 listing
(Image credit: Future)

Apple's HomePod may not be the standout product in the iPhone maker's line-up, but it could soon be in store for a huge upgrade — specifically, a built-in "iPad-like" display. But you won't be able to get your hands on such a smart speaker until at least 2025, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman claims in the latest edition of his weekly Power On newsletter.

Over the years, Gurman has reported on several smart home products Apple has been exploring, including a hybrid device that would combine Apple TV, FaceTime and HomePod as well as an iPad-like smart display able to be attached magnetically to the wall. The company's been "indecisive" about the direction of its smart home products for years, he said, and while Apple hasn't made much headway on these other ideas, it is reportedly working on bringing an iPad-like display to its line of smart speakers. 

"I am told Apple continues to pursue this idea and has begun early work on it with overseas suppliers, including China's BYD, which makes some iPad models," Gurman said. 

Reportedly leading the project are Matt Costella and Brian Lynch, two key executives in Apple's hardware division. In addition to the HomePod upgrade, Gurman also claimed Apple is working on a bevy of other yet unforeseen products, such as smart glasses, AirPods with cameras, and a health-monitoring fitness ring similar to the Oura Ring or Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Ring.

This new report corroborates rumors circulating for a while now that the next iteration of Apple's smart speaker will feature a 7-inch display, akin to the Amazon Echo Show 8, designed to effectively merge an iPad with a HomePod. Another clue to that effect: Earlier this month, 9To5Mac spotted code in the tvOS 17.4 developer beta 3 referring to a new device called “Z314” that could be the next HomePod. 

The developer beta includes SwiftUI frameworks and a tool for UI debugging iOS apps for HomePod, which is strange because while the HomePod runs tvOS, the same as Apple TV, it doesn't include any UI functionality. But if Apple's gearing up to release a new HomePod with a display attached, then that would explain the need to build out this kind of UI framework. 

Understandably a HomePod with a screen would have a bunch of benefits for users while also making Apple's smart speaker more competitive with Amazon and Google's smart displays. With a display and connection to the Home app, the HomePod could function as a versatile smart home hub. Add a camera into the mix, and it could also serve as a handy device for FaceTiming friends and family. 

After discontinuing the HomePod in 2021, Apple later reversed course and released a new full-sized HomePod last year. Meanwhile, the smaller HomePod mini has not received any kind of hardware revamp since it hit stores in 2020. 

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.