When Apple started to sell the HomePod mini in November 2020 the standard HomePod's days were numbered, and inevitably the larger device was discontinued in March 2021. However, there may yet be a future for a larger HomePod - one equipped with a screen and combining features from other Apple devices.
A Bloomberg report in April 2021 discussed Apple's plans for two future Apple products:
- One will fuse the HomePod and Apple TV with a camera that could be used for video conferencing via the TV screen.
- The second product - a smart speaker with a touch screen - will combine an iPad with a HomePod and mount a camera on a robotic arm that could actually follow the user around the room during a video chat.
Read more about that Bloomberg report here: Apple planning hybrid HomePod/Apple TV and HomePod/iPad products.
There are plans, it seems, for Apple to evolve the HomePod with the help of the iPad and Apple TV, but we may not see the finished products for some time.
The Bloomberg report mentioned above indicated that there are at least two projects focused on combining the HomePod with other Apple products. However, these are currently in the concept stage, so it could be a few more years before they become a reality.
A second Bloomberg report in late May 2021 also mentioned Apple's plans to so sell these hybrid HomePod products, although author Mark Gurman gave no indication of launch date. More on that report here: New AirPods Pro with no stems coming next year.
Will Apple combine HomePod and Apple TV?
We've been hoping that Apple will combine the HomePod and Apple TV for some time and it does look like something like that is being investigated by Apple. The Bloomberg report mentions it, but that wasn't the first indication that something like this was planned.
In April 2020 it emerged that Apple had switched the software on the HomePod from iOS to tvOS, according to a 9to5Mac report. Such a move makes it even easier to merge those products in the future.
How would a HomePod/Apple TV combo work?
One way is that if the HomePod included a camera, as is rumoured in the Bloomberg piece, then it would be possible to view a video conference on the TV screen.
Many Apple TV users wish to connnect their Apple TV to their HomePod. If Apple was to integrate the Apple TV into a future HomePod this would give users one audio/visual box.
The HomePod Apple TV combo could then work with other HomePod speakers to create surround sound.
Will Apple make a HomePod with a screen?
We feel that the absence of a screen - and over-reliance on Siri - has been one of the biggest failings of the HomePod.
We feel that a screen would help users interact with the device as well as open it up as a platform for watching other content, such as YouTube videos and news reports.
As per the Bloomberg report, Apple is said to be planning a HomePod with an iPad screen mounted on the front.
How would a HomePod with a screen work?
According to Bloomberg the HomePod will have a screen mounted on a robotic arm so that the camera could follow you around the room.
What a HomePod TV might look like
Swiss website Handy Abovergleich and designer Eric Huismann have created a series of concept illustrations of how this new generation of HomePod could look. They have come up with concept designs foe two separate devices: the HomePod TV (a mixture of the HomePod and the Apple TV) and the HomePod Show (a HomePod with a touchscreen display).
In the case of the HomePod TV the bar under the TV becomes not only the hub for TV, internet and smart devices, but also a sound system with support for standards such as Dolby Atmos and Apple Lossless.
The HomePod Show, on the other hand, is a speaker with a camera and a touchscreen that wants to be something between the iPod and Amazon Alexa.