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What to expect from the soon-to-launch Apple TV set-top box featuring a FaceTime camera.

What to expect from the soon-to-launch Apple TV set-top box featuring a FaceTime camera.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that Apple is working on launching an Apple TV set-top box with a built-in camera to support FaceTime and other video calling apps. The release date of the device is undisclosed. Earlier reports by Gurman suggested a new Apple TV might be released in the first half of 2024. However, it’s unclear if this model would include a camera or if such a feature is slated for a later release.

What expectations arise from the introduction of a camera-equipped Apple TV set-top box?

The report suggests that an Apple TV featuring a camera is anticipated to support “gesture-based controls,” although no further details were provided. With the introduction of tvOS 17, Apple integrated a FaceTime app into the Apple TV, enabling users to initiate video calls using the rear camera of a connected iPhone or iPad. If the Apple TV were to incorporate a built-in camera, users would no longer depend on an external device. Updates like iOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and tvOS 17 have introduced new hand gestures for users to enhance their video call experiences in apps like FaceTime. For instance, users can display fireworks on the screen by holding up two thumbs or showcase confetti by making two peace signs with their hands.

Gurman didn’t clarify if he was referring to this feature or if there would be entirely new gesture-based controls for Apple TVs. Additionally, in other home-related news, he mentioned that Apple is considering a “lightweight smart display” for household use. Gurman stated, “Apple still has grand ambitions in the smart home segment. It has discussed automating household functions and offering a revamped Apple TV set-top box with a built-in camera for FaceTime videoconferencing and gesture-based controls. All this technology will seamlessly integrate with both the iPhone and Vision Pro.”

Apple has initiated small-scale test production of screens for a lightweight smart display, resembling a low-end iPad, as part of its strategy. This device could be easily moved from room to room and connected to charging hubs strategically placed throughout the house. However, Apple has yet to make a decision on whether to proceed with this product.

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