Apple could be planning to use the iPad mini as a HomePod display

The Amazon Echo Show 10 smart display on a table
Could Apple's smart display look a bit like the Amazon Echo Show 10? (Image credit: Amazon)

Considering the amount of rumors and leaks we've seen about it, it seems likely that Apple is thinking about launching a smart display based on the HomePod speaker – and that display could well end up being an iPad mini.

The team at 9to5Mac has been digging into the code for tvOS 17.2 beta, and found something rather interesting: the software has been updated to add support for the iPad mini 6 that Apple launched back in 2021.

Bearing in mind that the HomePod and the HomePod mini run on a modified version of tvOS, it's then fair to make the assumption that Apple wants to explore the idea of launching a HomePod smart display with a decent-sized screen attached.

What adds even more credence to the idea is that rumors about a HomePod-plus-iPad have been appearing for more than a year now, and have come from some of the most reliable Apple tipsters in the business.

Form factors

At this stage it's worth remembering that even if Apple is testing out the iPad mini as a HomePod attachment, there's no guarantee that we'll end up with an actual product along these lines – company plans and market conditions change all the time.

In recent days we've also seen what is apparently a prototype HomePod with a small integrated display on the top. It's possible that Apple is experimenting with more than one different form factor for the upcoming smart display.

It does make sense that tvOS would be the software running on this smart display, as it's already used on the HomePod. If rumors from the start of the year are to be believed, smart home functions would be front and center.

Apple may take the approach used by the Google Pixel Tablet and its dock, and make a smart display that you can dock to a speaker or carry around with you; or, it could copy the Amazon Echo Show 10 with a display that can rotate. Time will tell.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.