Rumored HomePod with screen appears in tvOS beta links

Artist's rendering of HomePod with display

According to rumors, Apple's HomePod with a seven-inch display has suddenly appeared in third beta of tvOS 17.4 for developers, with links pointing to an unreleased device with a screen.

Rumors have long floated the idea of ​​a display version of the HomePod, giving users a home screen that effectively combines an iPad and a smart speaker. Now there appears to be evidence that Apple is still working on the concept.

In code links seen by 9to5Mac, tvOS 17.4 Developer Beta 3 released by Apple on Tuesday refers to a new device called the “Z314.”

The unreleased product supports tvOS, which is effectively used by both Apple TV hardware and HomePods. However, the HomePod version does not include a user interface due to the lack of a screen.

As part of beta testing, the HomePod firmware receives the SwiftUI framework, as well as the Hangtracerd tool for debugging the user interface in iOS applications. It seems unusual that Apple would include this feature unless it was preparing a HomePod that could use it.

The code shows that the Z314 is equipped with an A15 Bionic chip, with internal and production versions apparently being tested. This is thought to be an indicator that the speaker may be in an advanced stage of development.

The HomePod with screen is believed to be similar in concept to other devices released by rival smart speaker makers and could offer consumers similar functionality. In addition to providing visual control over functions, the display could potentially play media for users, access smart home features through the Home app, or even handle FaceTime calls if equipped with a camera.

Apple also considered releasing a HomePod with a small touchscreen, the prototype of which, released in late 2023, was billed as a new product under active development rather than a legacy prototype.

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