FaceTime Comes to Apple TV: A Living Room Video Call Revolution

In the realm of home technology, innovations often whisk us straight into the future—a future where video calls don’t need phones or tablets. tvOS 17 stepped it up by bringing the FaceTime app to the Apple TV, allowing video calls using the back camera of a connected iPhone or iPad. But what if Apple TV had its own built-in camera?

Today in his Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman hinted that an Apple TV with a camera might support “gesture-based controls,” though he did not elaborate. With updates like iOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and tvOS 17, you can use hand gestures during video calls in the FaceTime app and others to bring 3D effects to life on your screen. Imagine giving two thumbs up to trigger onscreen fireworks, or peace signs to shower the screen with confetti. Whether Gurman is pointing to these features or an entirely new set of gesture-based controls for tvOS remains to be seen.

Smart Home Strategy: Lightweight Smart Display and Revamped Apple TV

And then there’s the smart home segment, where Apple still harbors lofty ambitions. Discussions of automating household functions and offering an updated Apple TV set-top box with built-in camera for FaceTime videoconferencing and gesture controls are underway. All of this tech is expected to work seamlessly with both iPhone and Vision Pro.

Part of this strategy includes a lightweight smart display—akin to an entry-level iPad. Such a device could be moved from room to room as needed and linked to charging stations strategically placed around the house. Apple has begun small-scale test production of the displays for this product, but has yet to decide on a full-scale launch.

Release Dates and Speculations

The release dates or certainty of these devices hitting the market remain unclear. Gurman previously reported that a new Apple TV was slated for release in the first half of 2024, but it’s uncertain whether this model would include the camera or if that feature is still on the drawing board.

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What are your thoughts on this potential new direction Apple seems to be taking? Excited for more immersive video calls and a hyper-connected home? Let us know your take below.

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