Rumors that Apple is overhauling its smart home strategy have resurfaced, with references to a new operating system called homeOS found in the developer beta version of tvOS 17.4.
The term homeOS first appeared in a couple of job postings in 2021, alongside iOS, WatchOS, and tvOS. Apple quickly removed homeOS from the job listings after the news was reported.
The exact purpose of homeOS remains unclear, but it is believed to be related to Apple’s efforts to revamp the smart home experience. It is possible that homeOS could be a new operating system for the HomePod, which currently runs a simplified version of tvOS, or it could be linked to Apple’s HomeKit platform.
Reports suggest that Apple may be expanding its line of smart home products beyond the existing HomePod and HomePod Mini. Rumors from 2021 and 2023 suggest that Apple is working on a new device that combines the HomePod with a touch display, similar to the Amazon Echo Show 10.
Evidence of Apple testing tvOS 17 on an iPad Mini as part of a screen-equipped HomePod project was found last year and reported by 9to5Mac.
If Apple is indeed working on a new smart home device with homeOS, it is likely to be announced at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC), which typically takes place in June.
However, any such device would need to be accompanied by improvements to Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, in order to be truly competitive with devices like the Amazon Echo Show.