- The first developer beta of tvOS 17.4 has code references to homeOS, which might be a new operating system for Apple's smart home devices.
- Apple is allegedly working on a new smart home display to directly rival the Echo Show, Google Nest, and Meta Portal.
- The public release of tvOS 17.4 is expected to be in March alongside iOS 17.4.
It’s pretty common for developer beta releases of Apple’s operating systems to include references to unannounced or soon-to-launch products. However, the first tvOS 17.4 developer beta includes code references to homeOS, which indicates that Apple is working on a new operating system behind the scenes. As the name suggests, the new OS would be designed to be used in homes.
In June 2021, Apple posted two job listings that mentioned ‘homeOS’ alongside iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. These job postings were deleted quickly after they grabbed the attention of the media. Since then, there have been no signs of homeOS, except for the latest tvOS beta release.
When Apple launched the HomePod in 2018, it ran on iOS 11, but with the release of the HomePod software 13.4, the giant transitioned to using the tvOS platform. MacRumors discovered these code references and said that the company might be working to increase its smart home presence beyond the HomePod.
The mysterious homeOS could be a combination of tvOS and HomePod software. According to the revered Apple reporter Mark Gurman, Apple is consistently working on a new smart home display that would be a direct rival to the Echo Show, Google Nest, and Meta Portal.
Of course, such a device would require its own OS. The smart home display is expected to feature an iPad-like design with a camera for FaceTime calls. Instead of being placed on a table, the display is likely to be mounted to the wall and serve as a central hub for other smart home products. Also, the device could feature HomePod-like speakers and be part of the HomePod lineup.
Since Apple added a SharePlay feature for HomePod in tvOS 17.4 beta, it kind of hints the company is working on a HomePod with a display.
Moving on, there has been a fair share of rumors that Apple is developing a HomePod with a 7-inch display, which might be released as early as 2024. So, the homeOS could refer to the HomePod with a display or the iPad-like home hub. However, there’s nothing concrete at the moment.
Currently, tvOS 17.4 is in the first developer beta stage and the public release is expected in March alongside iOS 17.4, which brings app sideloading to the EU. The timing is close to when Apple holds its Spring event.
We’ve already heard that new iPads are coming in late March. And now, with the mention of a new OS and an anticipated event, we might witness Apple’s homeOS plans soon.