Apple could launch an iPad docking accessory in 2023 to act as a home hub

An iPad docking accessory could drop in 2023, bringing a smart home hub experience said to be similar to that of Google’s recently-launched tablet dock.

iPad Pro with Apple Pencil lying on its back at a 45 degree angle
Image: Rahul Chakraborty / Unsplash
  • What’s happening? Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says Apple is working on an iPad docking accessory for the smart home that would work similarly to Google’s new charging speaker dock, which turns its own tablet into a Nest hub.
  • Why care? An iPad docking accessory would help Apple “make some noise in the smart-home space” until its rumored Echo Show-like device arrives.
  • What to do? Pinch of salt and everything. Someone else needs to corroborate this rumor because Gurman is the only reporter calling for such an accessory.

An iPad docking accessory for the smart home sounds cool

Writing in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter on Bloomberg, reporter Mark Gurman has laid out some details about a docking accessory for the iPad.

With it, Apple could “make some noise in the smart-home space” in the smart home space until the company launches its rumored Amazon Echo Show-like accessory, which is another rumor that Gurman started which has yet to be corroborated.

The author says an iPad docking accessory would work similarly to a dock Google made for its own tablet which doubles as a smart display and home hub.

I’m told Apple is working to bring similar functionality to the iPad. I reported last year that Apple is exploring a stand-alone device that combines an iPad with a speaker hub. The idea is to offer something that users can place on a kitchen counter, in the living room or on their nightstand. But Apple also has worked on an iPad docking accessory that it could sell separately and would accomplish much of the same thing.

The rumored accessory could drop “as soon as 2023,” the author states.

Gurman’s report also notes that Apple may be working on a new HomePod model that could be bigger than the current HomePod mini.

The video below showcases Google’s charging speaker dock for the Pixel tablet.

Apple could be prepping other smart home appliances

Interestingly, Apple’s recent software update has disabled a feature that permits the iPad to act as a HomeKit hub for accessing your smart home appliances remotely. Currently, only the Apple TV and HomePod double as HomeKit hubs.

Gurman previously said Apple could be exploring an odd accessory that would suspend an iPad on a robotic arm to follow you as you walked around the room.

The journalist also claimed that the Cupertino giant could create a smart sound bar of sorts to compete with Amazon’s Echo Show and similar devices. It would reportedly merge Apple TV, iPad and HomePod functionalities in a single device, using a built-in FaceTime camera for FaceTime calls and other functions.