More mentions of the new HomePod with a screen in the tvOS 17.4 beta

We've heard rumors about Apple's future plans for the HomePod, which 9to5Mac reported last year that the company was launching tvOS on a modified iPad mini to see how the new HomePod with a built-in display will work. In the tvOS 17.4 beta, we found evidence of an unreleased device rumored to be a HomePod with a screen.

tvOS 17.4 hints at new HomePod with display

Code seen by 9to5Mac in tvOS 17.4 beta 3, released Tuesday to developers, reveals the existence of a new device labeled as “Z314” capable of running the operating system. As you may know, both the Apple TV and HomePod run tvOS, though the version running on HomePod does not have a user interface.

According to our findings, the unreleased “Z314” The device is powered by the A15 Bionic chip, which is interestingly the same as the iPad mini 6. The code shows that there are internal developments as well as production versions of this device in the testing stage, suggesting that it may have reached advanced stage of development.

To add fuel to the fire, tvOS 17.4 beta 3 adds the SwiftUI framework to the HomePod firmware. Additionally, Hangtracerd (a system tool used to debug unresponsive UI in iOS apps) has also been added to the HomePod version of tvOS 17.4. There would be no reason for Apple to add such features to the HomePod system unless it was planning a new device with a full-featured display.

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Thanks to tvOS 17.2, we learned that Apple is using the Apple TV operating system on modified versions of the iPad mini 6. Presumably, the company was studying what tvOS looks like on 8-inch display, which matches analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's report of a new HomePod model with an iPad mini-sized display.

In tvOS 17.4 beta 3, we also found evidence that Apple was using an unreleased Mac model (identified as Mac14.16) to conduct internal tests.

At the same time, Apple is developing a new version of the HomePod with a small LCD screen on top. It is expected to replace the HomePod 2 in the near future. As for the larger display version, it's unclear whether it will ever see the light of day, but based on all this evidence, it now seems more likely.

Read also

  • Bloomberg: Apple is developing an iPad-based HomeKit smart display and HomePod + Apple TV combination with camera

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