There are new indications that Apple is working on an operating system for smart home devices called homeOS. References to this term in files from the first beta of tvOS 17.4 indicate that there are still plans in Cupertino to either expand and rename the existing tvOS operating system or to create a completely new one. This could combine Apple TV, HomePods, and other new smart home devices.
Apple's involvement with the HomeOS name first became known in June 2021, when the company posted two job ads that mentioned homeOS as one of the platforms for which it was looking for software developers. However, the reference to homeOS was quickly deleted when the media noticed it. After that he kept silent about the name.
Preparing for new devices?
New guides about homeOS in tvOS 17.4 have now been found by authors on MacRumors. The exact function and purpose of homeOS is still unclear. It may also be just an attempt to put existing isolated solutions on a common footing. The operating system for the HomePod is simply called HomePod Software, but since version 13.4 it has been based on tvOS (formerly iOS).
Some speculation suggests that Apple is planning to expand its range of smart home devices this year. Bloomberg reported on alleged plans for an iPad-style smart home display that could serve as a smart home control center. Further development of the HomePod could also be envisioned. This was published again at the beginning of 2023 after a long break – but without any major changes. In the future, for example, this device could be equipped with a display and compete with similar devices from Amazon and Google.
When tvOS 17.4 is ready
Another hint of Apple's work on a HomePod with a display is the SharePlay feature added in tvOS 17.4 Beta 1. This allows a QR code to be displayed in the Apple Music app on the Apple TV to set up a SharePlay session with other devices. Preparing for Home OS could also include changing the HomeKit architecture, which Apple has implemented.
tvOS 17.4 is expected to be released in March alongside iOS 17.4. This month, Apple could also continue the tradition of previous years and hold a spring event in which the home operating system may play a role.
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