Apple Dreams Of Turning The iPad Into A Smart Home Hub Just Like Google

Apple is gearing up to launch a fresh slate of tablets in the coming days, according to Bloomberg. Among them is said to be the next-gen iPad Pro with the M2 chip inside, and a refresh for the vanilla iPad rocking a fresh design and a USB-C port. While the upcoming devices sound exciting, it appears that Apple has even bigger plans for its tablets next year, something that will push their utility beyond multimedia screens and productivity powerhouses.

In the latest edition of his PowerOn newsletter, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman writes that Apple has toyed with the idea of a docking accessory for the iPad. The docking station will reportedly serve as a speaker, and when an iPad is attached to it — likely via magnets — it would look and serve a similar function as the Google Nest Hub Max.

Gurman writes that the "idea is to offer something that users can place on a kitchen counter, in the living room or on their nightstand." In typical Apple fashion, the docking accessory would be sold separately, assuming the company actually graduates the experiment and commercially launches it as a mass-market device. Previously, Bloomberg reported that Apple was working on a hybrid device that was essentially an iPad mounted atop a speaker assembly, but permanently attached to each other.

All the pieces falling in the right place

The idea of selling a docking accessory for the iPad is new to Apple, but earlier this month, Google gave a demonstration of how such a system could work in real life. The Pixel Tablet, which is slated to launch early next year, will be accompanied by a docking station. When the Android tablet is mounted atop the speaker dock at an angle, it turns into a smart display that also serves as a smart home hub.

It looks like Apple is also a fan of that idea. Gurman notes that "the move would mark one of Apple's most significant pushes into smart-home devices." The opportunity is ripe for Apple to make a dent for multiple reasons, but the most notable one of them is Matter.

Matter is a protocol that unifies smart home devices under a single communication protocol, finally easing the fragmentation that has plagued the smart home segment due to proprietary walls. Matter is right around the corner, and among the biggest names that have helped develop Matter over the years is Apple. With the iPad being most world's most popular tablet, turning it into a smart home hub will further solidify its presence inside homes and ramp up the demand for Apple's slates.