Apple is working on a dock for the iPad that would allow the device to act as a smart display and speaker, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The company is reportedly planning to roll out the feature as early as next year, turning the iPad into a device resembling a smart display that you can place on a counter or bedside table. In the meantime, Apple will launch a new iPad Pro model, equipped with the new M2 chip, which is also found in the company’s latest MacBook Air models, which made their debut earlier this year.
In his weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that Apple has been working on an iPad docking accessory that is sold separately. Bloomberg previously reported that the company was working on a standalone feature to pair the tablet with a speaker hub. Amazon is already doing something similar with its Fire tablets, as the company allows users to place the devices in a charging dock to prop them up like a smart display.
Meanwhile Google recently announced a docking accessory for the upcoming Pixel tablet that aims to double as a magnetic charging station and speaker. Once placed, the tablet works like a smart speaker with a display and support for the Google Assistant.
Gurman noted that an iPad docking station could work similarly, potentially allowing users to make FaceTime calls and hands-free control of smart home devices.
The company is also working on other devices in the smart home space, including an updated version of the HomePod, which Gurman says could have an updated display, an S8 chip, and multi-touch functionality.
Last year Gurman reported that Apple is also planning a combo Apple TV and smart speaker device with a camera, which it believes is still in the works.
Meanwhile, Apple is poised to launch the iPad Pro before the end of this month, which is rumored to come with 11-inch and 12.9-inch display options, codenamed J617 and J620. According to Gurman, the tablet will be powered by Apple’s in-house M2 chip, which debuted on the new MacBook Air models.