Rumours first started in early 2021 when Apple, posted two job listings referencing homeOS, but was quickly removed. Since then, there has been no further mention of homeOS. However references have been made in the initial tvOS 17.4 beta and a hint that a new HomePod with a screen is on the way too!
Rewind to 2018, Apple initially ran a version of iOS on the HomePod when it launched. However, Apple made a shift to the tvOS platform for the HomePod with the introduction of HomePod Software 13.4. But that might be all about to change with references made in the latest tvOS 17.4 Beta according to MacRumors.
It’s worth pointing out at this stage, the references lack any indications of the OS’s capabilities. However, since the name is present in code alongside other operating systems, it’s probable that Apple is assessing its compatibility in preparation for a forthcoming release.
In terms of a new HomePod with a screen, The inclusion of a SharePlay feature for the HomePod in tvOS 17.4 beta 1 suggests that Apple might be developing a HomePod with a screen. In beta update, a QR code has been integrated into the Apple Music app on the TV, allowing others to scan it and initiate a SharePlay session directly on the device. A HomePod equipped with a display could potentially offer a comparable functionality.
New HomePod and HomeOS release date
We anticipate the release of tvOS 17.4 to the public in March along with iOS 17.4 and this coincides with speculation of an upcoming Apple event aimed at unveiling new iPads. The recent unveiling of HomePod 2 through a press release, rather than a traditional on-stage event, suggests a similar approach might be taken for the HomePod with a screen. Nevertheless, considering that major OS platforms are typically introduced at WWDC, it’s possible we’ll have to wait until WWDC 24 for any announcements regarding potential new smart home initiatives and HomeOS.