Apple May Beat Google’s Pixel Tablet to the Smart Home Punch

Apple May Beat Google’s Pixel Tablet to the Smart Home Punch

The best kind of drama starts with iOS and Android. That’s why our ears perked up at the latest Power On newsletter on Bloomberg over the weekend. A report from author Mark Gurman suggests Apple is coming directly for Google with an iPad that docks just like the recently teased Pixel Tablet.

Gurman reports that Apple is working to bring “similar functionality” of the Pixel Tablet to the iPad as soon as next year. “The idea is to offer something that users can place on a kitchen counter, in the living room or on their nightstand,” writes Gurman, which seems to directly compete with the idea Google put forth a mere two weeks ago. Apple may be working on a separate accessory that it could trot out and sell to work with existing iPad devices. It would be a low-fuss way to convert existing users into using Apple’s smart home ecosystem.

It’s not hard to imagine that the company could carry through with this plan. Sometimes, Apple hosts an early spring event that might include an update to the iPad lineup — it introduced the reprised iPad Air back in March when it also announced the iPhone SE. With the buzz behind the new Matter connection standard and the maelstrom of devices launching with support this winter, it’s the right opportunity for Apple to claim its stake in the smart home with a device people already have. It’s also a way to join the race even as the company is supposedly working on a more capable successor to the HomePod.

What’s still up in the air is when Google plans to release its Pixel Tablet. We were already scratching our heads when we saw the company change some of the marketing on the Android tablet. It’s billed more as a detachable smart home controller rather than the kind of get-work-done ethos other Android tablet manufacturers have adopted, like Samsung and Lenovo — that’s the premise behind the iPad Pro, too. We know that Google plans to launch the Pixel Tablet in 2023. The exact date remains unknown.

Gurman’s report details other Apple hardware expected on the horizon. For instance, the updated iPad Pro with an M2 processor. It would be the first significant update to the Pro lineup since the iPad Pro with an M1 processor launched in 2021, though the new chip is only expected to offer a 20% boost over the last generation. There’s also hope Apple will debut an entry-level iPad. It would pair nicely with a separate speaker dock for anyone who wanted to enter the Apple smart home ecosystem, though it’ll use the A14 Bionic chip instead of the more powerful M series.