Apple TV With Camera Again Rumored After tvOS 17 Added FaceTime

A future Apple TV box could have a built-in camera for FaceTime and other video calling apps, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

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tvOS 17 added a FaceTime app to the Apple TV, allowing for users to have video calls by using the rear camera on a connected iPhone or iPad. If the Apple TV gained a built-in camera, users would no longer need to rely on an external device.

In his Power On newsletter today, Gurman said an Apple TV with a camera would support "gesture-based controls," but he did not provide any additional details. Starting with updates like iOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and tvOS 17, you can make hand gestures during video calls in the FaceTime app and other video calling apps to fill the screen with 3D effects. For example, you can hold two thumbs up to show fireworks on the screen, or make two peace signs with your hands to show confetti. It is unclear if Gurman is referring to this feature, or if there would be all-new gesture-based controls for tvOS overall.

In other home-related news, Gurman said Apple has also considered a "lightweight smart display" that could be used around the house.

Here's everything he said about these devices:

Then there's the smart home segment, where Apple still has grand ambitions. 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. And the technology will all work seamlessly with both the iPhone and Vision Pro.

One piece of the strategy is a lightweight smart display — something akin to a low-end iPad. Such a device could be shuttled from room to room as needed and hooked into charging hubs stationed around the house. Apple has started small-scale test production of the screens for this product, but hasn't made a decision on whether to move forward.

It is unclear if or when these devices will be released. Gurman previously reported that a new Apple TV would be released in the first half of 2024, but it is unclear if a camera would be added to that particular model, or if it is still further away.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
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Top Rated Comments

klasma Avatar
7 weeks ago
Hopefully two Apple TVs can be paired for spatial video.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ElectricPotato Avatar
7 weeks ago
Could the camera be implemented in a separate "Surveillance Package" that plugs into the Apple TV? Those of us that just want a streaming device would appreciate it.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
7 weeks ago
Makes little sense except maybe for a smallish segment of AppleTV users who happen to position their AppleTV box immediately under or above, center of their TV. Position it anywhere else and while user is looking at the other party on their TV, they will NOT see "you" looking back at them. Instead, you will be looking far left or right of them, above or below them... or they won't be able to see you at all.

All the people who put their AppleTV left or right of their set, behind their set, in a separate cabinet, well below or well above their set will not have any FaceTime-type use for this "feature" as either that camera won't be able to see "you" at all or won't be seeing you so that you are looking right back at "them."

There are TWO solutions to this want:
* (already exists) wireless camera accessory via Continuity Camera. Maybe that could be an original iSight-type camera vs. having to use an iPhone... but it would work the same way.
* separate camera that mounts above or below, center of the TV and by wired or wireless connection sends its video to AppleTV to send to those on the other end of the video communication. In this, I'd envision the return of a USB port on AppleTV and then plug in a wired camera. Again, this too could be like the original iSight-type camera... and there are MANY of these already on the market, like these 2 4K TV cam examples...

...along with many much smaller types that typically have only HD resolution.

All these other concepts- such as all of the Frankenstein products: merging AppleTV + Camera + Soundbar + Router +++ seem like we are making an A/V iMac... which, just like iMac... can seem great going in but terrible at the end when any one part makes it a "throw baby out with the bathwater" proposition.

Not everyone has a soundbar setup, nor would want to switch to one. Not everyone needs a new router. Not everyone has their AppleTV in the right spot for effective video conferencing. Etc. As you lump in features that don't fit the masses, you cut the segment size of those who would desire this Frankenstein. AppleTV is already a "hobby." Frankenstein would be carving up the hobby share in search of a slice of a slice of a market interested in exactly THAT Frankenstein.

IMO, leave AppleTV almost "as is" except...
* Build in a normal USB-C port to which things like cameras, local storage, etc could be attached for those interested without forcing either on those who don't want such features. A "universal" port could scratch just about all itches without adding a lot of cost to AppleTV.
* Add the 3.5" headphone jack back to AppleTV for those with Zone 2 Receivers who would like to use the "Jukebox" benefits of AppleTV with Receiver zones that need analog audio in. Yes, there are HDMI "splitters/extractors" but few (any?) seem to readily pass through CEC & HDR correctly. One dirt cheap headphone jack and this jukebox feature returns in a fully compatible way.

Pretty much everyone can get what they want with those 2 changes. Those wanting an Apple-branded soundbar or router should long for those as their OWN products vs. being mashed into this one thing. Else, the complete Frankenstein would probably be priced towards $1K... but obsolete as fast as AppleTV obsoletes in just a few years... even if the speaker and/or router is still perfectly fine at the time. If you want to be shelling out $1K+ every couple of years, keep hoping for this Frankenstein. Else, buy those more "out there" wants as their own thing and things like routers and soundbars/speakers can far outlast faster-to-obsolescence hardware like AppleTV.

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Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nimrad Avatar
7 weeks ago

Could the camera be implemented in a separate "Surveillance Package" that plugs into the Apple TV? Those of us that just want a streaming device would appreciate it.
Ah, yes, a device you put on your TV to transform any TV to have a Dynamic Island. ?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radeon85 Avatar
7 weeks ago
Can't see a camera built in working that well as these boxes will be positioned all over the place. They'll be in the very corner, close to the floor, inside cabinets or even hidden behind the TV as I did that to a bedroom wall mounted one.

Only way this would work well is if they made it a separate, really small add on that communicates to the Apple TV wirelesley.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
VisceralRealist Avatar
7 weeks ago
Are they sure this isn't a misunderstanding of Apple releasing an actual TV, rather than putting a camera on a streaming box? Or do most people put their Apple TV directly in front of their TV?

This is a strange rumor, to say the least.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)