April 12, 2021 at 05:46PM

Tech giant Apple dropped the ball on gearing up for the connected home market. But while Amazon and Google have surged ahead in that area, Apple is still in the game.

Now, Apple is developing a product that would take on a wide array of tasks, Bloomberg reported on Monday (April 12). The idea is to have the product include an Apple TV set-top box and a HomePod speaker — along with a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV.

Bloomberg sources said the product could have other smartphone functions. Overall, it would have Apple TV box functions, such as being able to watch video and take part in games, along with smart-speaker uses, such as playing music and accessing Apple’s Siri digital assistant.

The tech giant is also looking at putting out a high-end speaker with a touch screen to take on Google and Amazon in the connected-home market, according to the news outlet. The product would put together an iPad with a HomePod speaker, while also having a camera for video chat.

However, sources said that both possible products could later be dropped or include other key features as research and development proceed.

Last month, Apple said it was discontinuing its high-end HomePod digital assistant and sound system, which cost $299. Instead, the company said, it would focus on the much less expensive HomePod Mini, released last year.

The HomePod Mini, according to Apple’s website, can stream music from various sources and, with Siri, control various smart-home devices.

An Apple spokesperson said in a prepared statement at the time, “HomePod Mini has been a hit since its debut last fall, offering customers amazing sound, an intelligent assistant, and smart home control all for just $99. We are focusing our efforts on HomePod Mini.”

Apple said the original HomePod will be available while supplies last. In addition, the company said it would “provide HomePod customers with software updates and service and support through Apple Care.”

The Apple TV box hasn’t been updated for more than three years.

Apple Eyes New Products For Connected Home Market …

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