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The next Apple TV could have an integrated HomePod speaker and FaceTime

Apparently, the company is also looking into a smart display with speakers.

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Image: KnowTechie

According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on a new Apple TV set-top box that adds a smart speaker and camera to the mix. That would make it a fully-contained entertainment device, competing against things like the Roku Streambar and Fire TV Cube.

While Bloomberg does caution that the device is at an early stage and might never make it to market, we can’t help but feel intrigued. How will Apple balance the need for large enough speakers for their audio quality requirements while still making a set-top box that’s small enough to not block the TV? Where will the camera be situated, or will it be external, like plugging a webcam into an Apple TV unit?

The report from Bloomberg also mentions that Apple is experimenting with smart speakers with a display, and as such “would combine an iPad with a HomePod speaker and also include a camera for video chat.” Even a robotic arm to move the device around to follow users of FaceTime has been discussed.

All of those features sound like the next version of the HomePod is going to be expensive. The original HomePod with its $349 price tag was too expensive for most, and the $99 HomePod mini is a hit because of the low price, not because it’s got amazing audio. Will a HomePod device that adds Apple TV functionality be accepted by Apple fans? I couldn’t say, but I’m all for it if it means instant access to Siri without having to find the Apple TV remote and hold a button down.

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