After dipping my toes in the iOS ecosystem for the first time in decades, I’ve found many things I like. From the better overall performance to the more focused product lines, it’s been a bit of an eye-opener to see the other side of the two main forces in mobile. Even with this new perspective, I think Apple is behind Google in one key area of the home: smart displays.
HomePod needs a Screen
I’ve come to rely on Nest Hubs throughout my house. I like having the visual keys and media options the smart display offers. I have one set up in my office and kitchen as a home automation control center and basically small TVs. Being able to quickly turn on a device, search the web, or watch Hulu while doing other tasks is great.
This is where it surprises me that so far Apple has no answer for these devices. A HomePod with a screen seems like a natural addition to the company’s product line that just doesn’t exist.
Better Yet the iPad Needs a HomePod Dock
To take this one step further, I can’t believe that with all the unique options for iPads, it looks like Google will have a detachable tablet smart hub before Apple. This seems like an evolutionary accessory for the iPad that needs to happen. This would easily be had with the Smart Connector on most iPad models and a magnetic dock.
With this pogo pin attachment and the MagSafe mounting system, I’d really like to see this happen. I love my Nest Hubs, but I would much rather have this be an extension of a device I already own. Especially in my kitchen. I’ve had the original Google Home Hub for a few years now, but I’ve had multiple instances where I wish I easily move it around the room.
Having an iPad with a dedicated space for additional features like HomePod AirPlay capabilities, HomeKit dashboard, Siri, and maybe the weather would be a great addition to the Apple lineup. Google and Amazon have pushed this type of device further over recent years and Apple simply has fallen behind.
It would be great to have similar functionality as my Nest Hubs while using the iOS ecosystem. Being able to quickly check my calendars and weather, or use HomeKit in a dedicated UI would be fantastic. I love what Google has done, but honestly being able to use this with AirPlay on a screen would be a huge win. Cast has become more and more inconsistent for my devices over the years and AirPlay has been rock solid.
Apple is supposedly already eyeing a dock of some sort to tackle the missing home features for iOS. Hopefully, this is simply just a dock that gives an iPad a larger speaker. If this doesn’t have a new way to interact with my home devices and have some sort of additional UI elements, it will be a miss in my mind.
The fruit-logo company always seems to have a surprise up its sleeve, so I’m hoping this one comes to fruition sooner rather than later. What about you? Would you buy an additional dock that turned your iPad into a HomeKit Hub? Or a dedicated HomePod Show-type device?