Apple is working on a slate of devices aimed at challenging Amazon.com and Google in the smart-home market, including new displays and a faster TV set-top box, after relaunching its larger HomePod speaker.
The push into smart displays will start with a tablet product — essentially a low-end iPad — that can control things like thermostats and lights, show video and handle FaceTime chats, people with knowledge of the plans said. The product could be mounted on walls or elsewhere using magnetic fasteners, positioning it as more of a home gadget than a regular iPad.
Apple has also discussed the idea of building larger smart-home displays, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.
While the iPad already has smart-home features, standalone smart-home devices — often designed as countertop or wall-mounted appliances — have grown increasingly popular. Amazon sells a line of Echo Show products with displays, while Google offers its Nest Hub. And the latter company — part of Alphabet — is readying a Pixel Tablet with an optional stand. Apple also has discussed creating a home stand for its current iPads.
The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has struggled in the home space and has ceded much of the market to its rivals. Its current devices remain limited in their functionality, with Apple’s Siri voice-control service lagging behind Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. The new devices — along with upcoming changes to Siri — are aimed at turning around Apple’s fortunes.