We’ve heard a bunch of rumors about the Apple smart display in recent times, and the idea of a HomePod with a screen will be appealing to many. Now long-time Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has some predictions of what sort of thing we can expect from the new HomePod, and when it might arrive.
Kuo posted his predictions on Medium, the first of which suggests the new HomePod could arrive in the first half of 2024 with a 7-inch display. Apparently, Chinese display firm Tianma will be providing the panel used in the upcoming smart display.
Tianma is apparently a key beneficiary in Apple’s “revamped smart home strategy,” and is set to start off supplying components for low-end products with room to move onto better things. Kuo claims that if things go well enough Tianma could wind up supplying iPad panels at some point in the future.
Kuo doesn’t go into great detail about Apple’s new “smart-home strategy,” only that the new HomePod could “enable tighter integration with Apple’s other hardware products.” While there are no specifics here, we have heard rumors about this prospect before — and what an Apple smart display could mean.
Back in January, a Bloomberg report claimed the smart display would be an iPad-like device designed to let you control smart home products — much like an Amazon Echo Show or Google Nest Hub. Functionality would also likely include Facetime calling and video playback, though which video services would be included isn’t clear.
There’s a chance that the device could function as a form of miniature Apple TV with access to all your favorite streaming platforms. At the very least we’d expect Apple TV Plus to be included, alongside Apple Music which is already available on HomePod smart speakers.
Past rumors have suggested an Apple TV/HomePod hybrid could be on the way at some point, as well as an iPad-style smart display attached to the wall with a robotic arm. Whether any of those rumored products make it to market is another matter.
Apple doesn’t really sell smart home devices of its own, but there is HomeKit and the new Matter standard. That means an Apple smart display could integrate with any number of smart home gadgets, including doorbells and cameras, regardless of who made them.
But Apple is going to need to step up if it wants to position itself as a leader in the smart home business — especially since Amazon and Google have been producing smart displays for years. But at this stage, we’re just going to have to sit tight and see what happens.