Google Home HubSource: Google

Rumor has it that Apple is working on a new smart speaker with a display and camera built in. It would explain why the traditional HomePod product has been canned – because Apple needs space at the price point – and it would give users the opportunity to enjoy more than just audio from their smart speaker. But that's just the start because, ideally, a HomePod with a display could change the way we use apps.

The benefits of a screen attached to a HomePod are obvious. You'll be able to see things like song lyrics and graphical responses to questions posed to Siri. FaceTime is another obvious use case here, but it goes beyond all of that. Imagine being able to pull OmniFocus up on your kitchen HomePod, for example. Or ask Siri for the weather and see a full 24-hour forecast from your app of choice.

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Yes, you could watch YouTube and the latest Apple TV+ show, presumably. But there could be a whole new corner of the App Store dedicated to apps specifically designed for such a device. They would be like iPad apps, but not. It's something I've been thinking about since I saw developer Steve Troughton-Smith make the same observations earlier today as he pondered the Bloomberg story.

And just like that, another potential Apple developer platform and form-factor looms. Could be a great place for media apps like Broadcasts…

Exactly. Sure, some people will say they don't need something like this because they have an iPhone and an iPad and an Apple Watch and a Mac and their Apple TV and so on and so on. But that doesn't mean that a HomePod Max wouldn't be a great idea and one that I'd probably throw money at. Especially if Apple could give us something with an always-on display and something akin to widgets or complications.

Just imagine what an App Store full of developers could do with something like that!