tvOS 17.4 Code Includes References to ‘homeOS’

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Code discovered by MacRumors in the first developer beta of tvOS 17.4 includes references to “homeOS,” indicating that Apple is continuing to work on its rumored home devices operating system behind the scenes.

The first mention we ever saw of “homeOS” was back in 2021, in two Apple job postings that mentioned the mysterious operating system.

You’ll get to work with system engineers across Apple, learning the inner-workings of iOS, watchOS, tvOS and homeOS, and optimizing your code for performance in ways only Apple can. Come join our team and make a real difference for music lovers worldwide.

The Apple Music Frameworks team owns the technology stack that enables the system-integrated Apple Music experience on all of our mobile platforms: iOS, watchOS, and homeOS.

However, the mention of homeOS was removed from the listing once the media had noticed it, replacing the mention with “HomePod.” No additional mentions of homeOS have been seen before now, with the release of the first tvOS 17.4 beta.

The operating system that runs on the HomePod and HomePod mini has never received a formal name. Apple reportedly refers to it internally as “audioOS.” However, nobody at Apple has ever used that term in speaking to the public. Officially, Apple calls it “HomePod Software,” but it isn’t typically referred to that way.

Apple’s original HomePod, released in 2018, ran a modified version of iOS 11 when it launched. However, Apple transitioned to using tvOS for the HomePod with the release of HomePod Software 13.4. It’s possible that Apple could be working towards combining the tvOS and HomePod Software sometime in the future, rebranding the merged software as “homeOS.”

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has said Apple is working on a new smart home display that’s designed to compete with the Google Nest Hub, the Meta Portal, and the Echo Show. The rumored display is said to resemble an iPad and will include a built-in camera for FaceTime calls. The new device will likely mount to the wall and act as a central console hub for your smart home products. The device may also feature HomePod-like speakers, and at release, it may be considered part of the HomePod lineup.

We’ve also seen rumors of a new HomePod with a display embedded at the top of the smart speaker, which could see a release sometime this year. While “homeOS” could be a reference to either of these devices, it could also be referring to something else.

The MacRumors report also mentions a SharePlay feature for the HomePod in the tvOS 17.4 beta, which also hints at work on a HomePod with a built-in screen. The update includes a QR code on the Apple Music app on the TV, which can then be scanned to start a SharePlay session on the device. A HomePod with a display could also offer similar functionality.

tvOS 17.4 is expected to be released alongside iOS 17,4 sometime in March. Apple could unveil a new device at a spring media event. If the new device is indeed a new iPad-like panel to hang on the wall, it could debut alongside the expected new iPads, said to be hitting shelves in late March. Stay tuned.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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