As Apple is gearing up to release new M2-powered iPad Pro models later this month, the company is reportedly working on a new iPad docking accessory. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the new docking station could offer an alternative to an iPad/HomePod combo the company is also expected to be working on.
The news comes just a couple of day after Google unveiled a Charging Speaker dock for its upcoming Pixel tablet. The dock accessory will make the Pixel tablet look like a Google Nest Hub device, though the Android UI apparently won’t change when the tablet is placed on the dock.
“I’m told Apple is working to bring similar functionality to the iPad as soon as 2023, Gurman wrote in his latest Power On newsletter. “I reported last year that Apple is exploring a stand-alone device that combines an iPad with a speaker hub. The idea is to offer something that users can place on a kitchen counter, in the living room or on their nightstand. But Apple also has worked on an iPad docking accessory that it could sell separately and would accomplish much of the same thing.”
Apple is currently lagging behind its competitors in the smart home market. The Apple TV 4K remains overpriced compared to HDMI sticks from Google, Roku, or Amazon, while the HomePod hasn’t really been a sounding success either. However, Gurman previously reported that a new HomePod was in the pipeline to replace the original model that has been discontinued in 2021.
The reporter also believes that Apple is working on a new Apple TV device that will include a smart speaker plus a FaceTime camera for video calls, similar to Meta’s Portal TV device. Before these products are ready, though, an iPad with a new docking accessory could be Apple’s next attempt to claim a bigger share of the burgeoning smart home market.