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Bloomberg's Mark Gurman today revealed that Apple has been developing new speakers that are equipped with "screens and cameras," suggesting we could see a future HomePod-like device that has a built-in display and camera feature for FaceTiming and other functions.

homepod-facetime-feature-3.jpg

Ahead of these rumors, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser was combing through the tvOS 14.5 beta code and found that Apple has added FaceTime and iMessage frameworks, along with a new AVFCapture framework related to capturing images.

You might be wondering what tvOS code has to do with the HomePod, but in April 2020 Apple began using tvOS as the basis for the software that runs on the HomePod rather than iOS. watchOS, tvOS, and the software that runs on the HomePod are all variants of iOS, but each one is differentiated by the device the software is intended to run on with unique interfaces, APIs, and more.

That means features included in tvOS are also included in the HomePod software since they have the same base code. Therefore, the FaceTime, iMessage, and image capture frameworks added to tvOS in tvOS 14.5 could actually be designed for a future HomePod that has a screen and a camera, as described by Gurman.

The HomePod and HomePod mini are able to use FaceTime audio already, but the FaceTime framework discovered in the 14.5 beta is distinct from any code related to the existing audio FaceTime feature. The frameworks are in the tvOS 14.5 beta and the 14.5 HomePod software beta available to select testers.

Gurman says there is no "imminent launch" planned for the camera-equipped speaker, so it's possible no such product will make an appearance. It's also entirely possible that the iMessage, FaceTime, and AVFCapture frameworks introduced in tvOS 14.5 have an entirely different purpose that may be entirely unrelated to a HomePod and could remain hidden in the code or used for an unspecified feature coming to the Apple TV or the HomePod in the future.

In semi-related news, the 14.5 beta also suggests that Apple could potentially be developing some kind of trivia game for Siri, where Siri could provide trivia questions for users to answer. This is labeled as "Siri Edutainment" in the code, but it is not clear if it will be a built-in Siri feature or support for a third-party product.

Article Link: Apple Adds FaceTime Framework to Apple TV/HomePod Amid Speaker With Screen Rumors
 
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obargy

macrumors regular
May 6, 2016
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It would be nice to have a new Apple TV with a camera and speakers built-in. It can work as an entertainment control center in your living room.
 

ice29

macrumors regular
Dec 9, 2016
151
97
Switzerland
Wow, if they really put Facetime into AppleTV, I will buy it in a heartbeat... I have to use a hackintoshed NUC hooked up to TV today, with Logitech webcam (with mic) and Samsung sound-bar connected via USB-SPDIF, to Facetime with my parents (I like it much more when they can see a big part of the living room, not just the face). I don't understand why they haven't implemented this in the past already, it works perfectly in MacOS (ok, have to use echo-cancelling with Krisp, otherwise there is a big echo with sound-bar and mic not on the same HW device...).
 

Jeaz

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2009
606
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Sweden
It is a bit funny, but in the Apple TV+ show Servant, they use their TV constantly for FaceTime calls. I means, they obviously can take creative freedom for whatever suits the story telling best, but still thought it was kinda neat and also thought it would have been nice to have.
 

cmaier

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Jul 25, 2007
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California
It is a bit funny, but in the Apple TV+ show Servant, they use their TV constantly for FaceTime calls. I means, they obviously can take creative freedom for whatever suits the story telling best, but still thought it was kinda neat and also thought it would have been nice to have.
Would be nice, but the wiring from my media cabinet through the wall to my tv to hook up a camera makes me shudder. Took a day and half to rewire for 4k a year ago. (Have to snake over a fireplace, through a stud - don’t get me started).
 
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BMcCoy

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
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I’ve used an iPad, airplay’d to Apple TV, and then balanced next to the tv, to effectively use the TV for FaceTime with the family.
I immediately thought that a little dedicated camera that can clip to the top of the TV, and link to the Apple TV, which can run FaceTime, would be a more elegant solution.
 

Seanm87

macrumors 68000
Oct 10, 2014
1,819
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Having a camera constantly staring into my house is where I draw the line, even with a privacy focused company like apple. Its creepy as hell.

Yes I know a camera is on my laptop but that's closed when not in use and my phone is in my pocket or facing the ceiling led on a table when not in use. This would be constantly able to see into your house. Too 1984 for me.
 

AngerDanger

Graphics
Staff member
Dec 9, 2008
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I know that image is just a render, but please Apple, don't even consider making the screen locked in that position lol

This is a photoshopped image created by - more than likely - the MR staff/editors.
Yeah, sorry, I didn't have long on this one. Still tweaking it; ideally, it'd be at an angle on the side. :)
 

Squuiid

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2006
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How about we get Siri to tie it's own shoe laces before we try and get it to 'entertain' people with a trivia quiz.
 

Lemon Olive

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Nov 30, 2020
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I’d love a new AppleTV 4K with camera+mic to video chat. And if it comes to pass, they need to have a small light to let you know that they are “on”, for obvious reasons.
Camera and Mic? All they need is freaking USB-A port. That's it. And some software.

We could have had FaceTime on Apple TV years ago. Apple is just weird about things.
 

Seoras

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2007
709
1,780
Scotsman in New Zealand
If the ATV gets a Camera/Mic then it'll have to be a separate wireless dongle that gets paired (& could pair with HomePod too).
Bluetooth doesn't have the bandwidth for video so my guess would be some sort of WiFi pairing.
Built in Li battery and a lightning port for charging just like the ATV remote has.

I've been shouting out for facetime on ATV for a few years now. No doubt the lock downs have kicked Apple into gear on what seemed like an obviously great application for ATV.
 
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guzhogi

macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
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Wherever my feet take me…
Maybe they'll bring back the iSight camera for AppleTV?

I work in a school district, and we recently bought TVs, and these cameras from https://neat.no/bar/ so teachers can use Zoom. I guess the teachers could see their remote kids at the same time as their in-person students. The other techs liked calling the kids "Roomers" and "Zoomers" I just personally setup the tv stands & put on the cameras. Kind of sad that I never got to use them. If Apple could do something like this, int could be very useful for education, as well as fun for talking with friends. Especially cool if they could make a TV with a builtin camera, a la Star Trek.
 

macduke

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
12,065
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Central U.S.
That HomePod with display mockup is about as dumb as some of the original iPhone iPod mockups, lol.

They should release a wireless FaceTime camera that is powered via USB on the back of the TV and can clip or magnetically attach to the top, side or bottom of the TV display. Would much rather communicate with my family on the big screen.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
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It would be nice to have a new Apple TV with a camera and speakers built-in. It can work as an entertainment control center in your living room.
I think the biggest challenge is figuring out the right size for the TV without providing mini, regular, max options, and even those may be hard to come up with. And then there's the price. You will pay Apple tax!
 
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nutmac

macrumors 603
Mar 30, 2004
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I’d love a new AppleTV 4K with camera+mic to video chat. And if it comes to pass, they need to have a small light to let you know that they are “on”, for obvious reasons.
Apple TV with camera makes a great deal of sense. Not just for video conferencing, but doubling as an indoor security camera.

But smart screen with camera just never made much sense to me. Crouching near the smart screen to video chat just seems awkward, when I can just plop out my phone or iPad to do the same.

There are values in adding a small screen to speakers, such as displaying date and time, timer status, weather, etc. But camera is the last thing I want.
 
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