Links to tvOS 17.4 code Mysterious homeOS

By Aaron Perris

Code discovered by MacRumors in the first beta of tvOS 17.4 suggests Apple's work on “homeOS” continues behind the scenes.

Back in June 2021, Apple published two job advertisements that mentioned homeOS, but removed the deadline when it was noticed by the media. We haven't seen any sign of HomeOS since then, other than the first beta of tvOS 17.4.

Apple's 2018 HomePod was running a modified version of iOS 11 at launch, but Apple has switched to using the tvOS platform for ‌HomePod&zwnj ; with the release of ‌HomePod‌ Software 13.4. As part of its efforts to expand its smart home presence, Apple may eventually merge tvOS and ‌HomePod‌ software in the future, potentially rebranding it as homeOS.

Apple is actively working on a new smart home display that will compete with the Echo Show, Meta Portal and Google Nest Hub, according to Bloomberg Mark Gurman. The smart home display is said to have an iPad-like design and a camera for FaceTime calling, and it will likely be wall-mounted and serve as a central console for smart home products. The device could also have HomePod-like speakers, and if the product sees release, it could become part of Apple's ‌HomePod‌ arrangement.

There have also been rumors about a next-gen version of the HomePod with a display at the top of the device, and this product could come out as early as 2024. HomeOS can refer to either the iPad or the iPad. for example, a home hub in development or ‌HomePod‌ with a display, but it's also possible that it's neither.

The SharePlay feature for HomePod added in tvOS 17.4 beta 1 further hints at Apple's work on ‌HomePod‌ with screen. The update adds a QR code to the Apple Music app on TV that others can scan to start a SharePlay session directly on the device. ‌HomePod‌ with display may have a similar feature.

tvOS 17.4 is expected to see a public release in March alongside iOS 17.4, a timing close to when Apple sometimes holds spring events. We've heard rumors of an iPad update coming at the end of March, so given the mention of homeOS in tvOS 17.4 and a possible upcoming event, we may not have to wait long to learn more about Apple's HomeOS plans.

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