An inexpensive iPad-style controller from Apple is said to be coming soon as part of a reinvigorated smart home push, just hours after the firm unveiled the HomePod 2, which features a design that is strikingly similar to the original.
Smart displays from Apple will initially consist of “a low-end iPad” that can be attached magnetically to your wall or other surface. It sounds like it will mostly serve as a smart home controller and a FaceTime gadget, which are two of the least exciting features of an iPad.
It is unclear how Apple plans to differentiate this product from the iPads it has traditionally sold in order to compete with the Amazon Echo Show and the Google Nest Hub. To keep from undercutting budget tablets like the iPad 10.2 (2021), however, it may need to use a modified version of Apple’s iOS rather than the complete version that would otherwise be required to reach that low price point.
The product would be “more of a household gadget than a conventional iPad,” implying that it will be sold separately. It would be fascinating to see whether Apple creates a clone of iPadOS for its smart display, as Google has done with Fuchsia, a new operating system built just for the Nest Hub screens.
Regardless, Apple’s backing of the Matter standard, which promises to increase interoperability across competing products, is a major aspect of its current campaign to manage your smart home. The new intelligent display would undoubtedly work with Matter, and there appears to be more than one version in the works.
Larger smart-home screens, which says “Apple has also pondered the concept of constructing” could not be far off. Smart displays, despite Meta’s decision to end the Portal line, are set to have another banner year, with Apple and Amazon/Google competing for a spot on your kitchen counter.
Apple Re-Enters the Internet of Things
It would seem that Apple will follow its usual pattern with this alleged smart display and wait for the technology product to grow before releasing a refined, iOS-focused version. However, Apple’s earlier attempts at smart home, including a baffling Home app, have been spotty at best. In addition, Matter’s release would level the playing field for it to compete with other cutting-edge smart displays like the forthcoming Google Pixel Tablet.
A new smart home display runs the risk of being perceived as a boring (and less competent) iPad mini. iPads are mostly used for media consumption, gaming, and, with the assistance of an Apple Pencil, artistic endeavours like digital drawing and picture editing.
Since voice commands are now a hands-free option on our smartphones, iPads, and smart speakers, controlling your smart home may be a secondary purpose for tablets. Thus, Apple’s smart display may not succeed in the market unless it either undercuts competitors’ prices or introduces a really compelling new feature that isn’t available on the competition’s or existing (or used) iPads.
By allowing current iPad customers to repurpose their devices with new smart home software, Apple can help its environmental efforts (the business aspires to be 100% carbon neutral by 2030). In essence serving as a docking attachment, “Apple has also contemplated making a home stand for its existing iPads,” as reported by Bloomberg.
Since Google just unveiled a speaker dock for its next Pixel Tablet (due out in 2023), this might be an option for preexisting iPads as well. It is unclear, however, if a dock for existing iPads would be included with Apple’s rumoured new smart display.
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