Apple Can Beat Google’s Pixel Tablet in the Smart Home Punch

A photo of the iPad Pro

Photo: Caitlin McGarry / Gizmodo

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

Gurman reports that Apple is working to bring “similar functionality” from the Pixel Tablet to the iPad next year. “The idea is to offer something that users can place on the counter, in the living room or on their nightstand,” writes Gurman, who seems to compete directly with the idea Google put forward just two weeks ago. Apple may be working on a separate accessory it could sell and sell to work with existing iPad devices. It would be an easy way to convert existing users to using Apple’s smart home ecosystem.

It’s not hard to imagine that the company could push through with this plan. Sometimes Apple hosts an event in early spring that may include an update to the iPad lineup — it introduced the iPad Air reissue 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, this is the right opportunity for Apple to claim its share of the smart home with a device people already own. It’s also a way to join the race, even though the company is reportedly working on a more capable successor to the HomePod.

What’s still 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 work ethic that other Android tablet makers 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 is still unknown.

Gurman’s report details other Apple hardware expected on the horizon. For example, the renewed iPad Pro with an M2 processor. It would be the first major update to the Pro range since the iPad Pro with an M1 processor launched in 2021, although the new chip is only expected to offer a 20% boost over the last generation. There is also hope that Apple will introduce an entry-level iPad. It would fit nicely with a separate speaker dock for anyone looking to get into the Apple smart home ecosystem, though it will use the A14 Bionic chip rather than the more powerful M series.

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