Thursday, May 30, 2024

Apple TV Set-Top-Box With Inbuilt Camera for FaceTime Reportedly in Development

Apple is making plans to enter the smart home segment, as per a new report, and as a part of the plan, it could introduce an Apple TV set-top-box with an inbuilt camera. Additionally, the company is also said to be working on a “lightweight smart display” that can be docked to charging stations. Last week, it was reported that Apple was also working on two robotic devices — one that is placed atop a table and can move displays and another that follows the user around.

According to the Power On newsletter by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple has been planning to enter three new categories for quite a while. With the introduction of the Vision Pro, it has entered the mixed-reality headset category, and the now-cancelled Apple Car could have been its entry into the EV category. The third category, smart home, remains the most interesting one, as the Cupertino-based tech giant plans to introduce a diverse range of smart appliances in the near future.

In his newsletter, Gurman highlighted two devices in particular. The first is an upgrade to its existing Apple TV set-top-box for smart TVs. It is reported to get an inbuilt camera. The camera will allow for video conferencing via FaceTime and offer gesture-based controls. The technology is also said to be integrated with the iPhone and Vision Pro, although it is not known how it will be different from the FaceTime app already available on the devices. It is also believed that equipping the camera on the set-top-box could allow Apple to integrate its other smart devices into it and offer diverse functionality.

The second device is reported to be a lightweight smart display. Gurman said, “Such a device could be shuttled from room to room as needed and hooked into charging hubs stationed around the house.” The description makes it appear that its primary functionality could be a smart home control through which a user can control all other devices. The charging hubs also give the impression that they could be used as standby entertainment systems, similar to Google Nest Hub and Amazon’s Echo Show.

Gurman highlights that Apple has started a small-scale test production for the smart display, but also emphasises that it is no guarantee that the tech giant will move ahead with its plans and bring the devices to the market. It is also not known how long the company might take to launch them.

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