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Apple to expand smart-home lineup with new displays, faster TV set-top box

After relaunching its larger HomePod speaker, Apple is working on a slate of devices aimed at competing with Amazon and Google in the smart-home market, including new displays and a faster TV set-top box. According to people familiar with the plans, the push into smart displays will begin with a tablet product — essentially a low-end iPad — that can control things like thermostats and lights, show video, and handle FaceTime chats. The product could be magnetically fastened to walls or other surfaces, making it more of a home gadget than a regular iPad. According to the people who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private, Apple has also discussed the idea of building larger smart-home displays.

While the iPad already has smart-home capabilities, standalone smart-home devices — often designed as countertop or wall-mounted appliances — have grown in popularity. Amazon sells Echo Show products with displays, while Google sells the Nest Hub. And the latter company, which is owned by Alphabet, is working on a Pixel Tablet with an optional stand. Apple has also talked about developing a home stand for its current iPads.

The Cupertino, California-based technology behemoth has struggled in the home market, ceding much of the market to competitors. Its current devices are still functionally limited, with Apple’s Siri voice-control service trailing Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. The new devices, as well as upcoming changes to Siri, are intended to turn around Apple’s fortunes.

Apple released the new HomePod speaker earlier this week. The $299 (approximately Rs. 24,300) device is a redesigned version of the original that uses the same chip as last year’s Apple Watch. It has a new sensor for determining the temperature inside a user’s home and an updated media panel on top. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that a new speaker was on the way. The temperature monitor first appeared in the HomePod mini in 2021, but it was not yet operational. Business Standard

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