Apple could be developing a smart display

Word is that Apple is readying a smart display for launch later this year.

Once again, the rumor comes via Engadget from Bloomberg’s Marg Gurman — a person who seems to have a firsthand view into Apple’s product development pipeline and/or marketing plans.

In any case, Apple’s apparently got a handful of smart home products ready to go.

One of them could be a smart display device that combines an iPad with a speaker. If true it sounds awfully like something that would use Siri and compete with the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Nest smart displays to a provide a visual-centric personal assistant.

For whatever the reason — most likely market demand — Apple has yet to release a smart speaker with a display. All its HomePods so far have been voice-activated speakers with no attached display.

It would seem odd for Apple not to have an answer in this space.

The kitchen seems to be a popular use case. Because our hands are typically busy while cooking, a voice assistant with a handy, informative display to show things like recipe information and measurement conversions and photo/video instructions makes a lot of sense. Apple I’m sure could easily have an iPad-like display connected to a HomePod and the result would be an easy solution to fill a product gap.

Marilyn Ong in a piece from 2020 in the New York Times writes about how she was a skeptic now loves cooking with the Google Nest Hub Max which has become here digital sous chef (no paywall):

“My favorite feature is that once you start a recipe, Google Assistant moves through each step with you while keeping the ingredients visible in a column next to the instructions—it’s nice to have all the information available at a glance.”

Ong does mention some caveats, including privacy concerns, counter space, and ensuring your style of cooking matches well with a smart display.

So if Apple does indeed duct tape together a HomePod with an iPad it will be interesting to see if it pushes hard on the kitchen angle, or if it chooses some other avenue into the home.

Meantime, look for Apple to launch the new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro this September.