According to a report by Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, Apple is developing a dock for the iPad that will allow the device to act as a smart display and speaker. The company reportedly plans to roll out the feature as early as next year, transforming the iPad into an Amazon Echo Show-like device you can place on a counter or nightstand.
Amazon has done something similar with its Fire tablets, as the company allows users to drop devices into a charging dock that props them up like a smart display. Even Google announced last week a docking accessory for its upcoming Pixel tablet, which is supposed to function as both a magnetic charging station and a speaker. Once the tablet is in place, it acts like a Nest Hub Max, letting you control your smart home through the Home app and interact with Google Assistant.
The iPad docking station, Gurman noted, could work similarly, potentially allowing users to make calls via FaceTime and gain hands-free control of smart home devices. The company is also working on other devices in the smart home space, including an updated HomePod that Gurman said could feature an updated display, S8 chip and multi-touch capabilities. Last year, Gurman reported that Apple also plans to combine the Apple TV with a camera-equipped smart speaker device, which he believes is still a work in progress.
While we’re not looking forward to it, however, Apple is preparing to launch the iPad Pro before the end of the month, and it’s rumored to come in 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions, as well as Apple’s in-house M2 chip.