Apple reintroduces the concept of homeOS in tvOS 17.4

The HomePod is one of the Apple products that goes most unnoticed. Currently, two types of this Big Apple speaker are marketed: the standard generation and the mini generation. However, there are already many rumors about the creation of a new hybrid HomePod with the possible integration of a touch screen that could integrate homeOS, a new operating system from Apple. In fact, tvOS 17.4 reintroduces references to homeOS, an operating system concept that we learned about in 2021 and since then we have only had rumors about it.

A little context: HomePod with touch screen and homeOS

First, let's set some context to understand the timeline around these rumors. In June 2021, Apple offered a series of jobs that mentioned the development of homeOS, within a development program focused on Apple Music. Weeks later, when they realized that this name was written, the homeOS concept was withdrawn and the job offer remained valid. Since then, we haven't heard anything from homeOS and all we know is guesswork.

Homepod with iPad mini screen

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On the other hand, we have information that Apple intended to launch a HomePod with a touch screen up to 7 inches in the first half of 2024. This information was from the beginning of 2023 and in these first months of 2024 we have not heard anything about this again, except that Apple continues working on this idea of ​​a hybrid HomePod with a possible touch screen attached to the structure or a possible iPad mini instead of an external screen.

Homepod with iPad mini screen

homeOS, a recurring concept that gives us more doubts than answers

But, as we told you, The homeOS concept has now reappeared in beta versions of tvOS 17.4. Months after the launch of the first HomePods, Apple modified its operating system and they no longer worked with iOS but with tvOS. Since then, HomePods run a variant of tvOS, the Apple TV operating system.

We have always understood homeOS as an operating system that could combine tvOS and the HomePod to be able to have the versatility of both scenarios in a possible new HomePod. In addition, the integration of a touch screen would require developing part of the code for that screen, with the aim of not depending on iOS or iPadOS.

HomePod Touch

This new smart screen would compete directly with devices like Google's Nest Hub or the Meta Portal, which function as home automation hubs. And seeing the importance that Apple has given to home automation in recent years, it would not be surprising that homeOS will culminate with the launch of a device of this type that also combined speakers in the form of HomePod.

iOS 17.4

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In addition, the iOS 17.4 beta also shows the SharePlay feature on HomePods. This function allows you to share content with other users and/or devices and could make sense with a HomePod with a touch screen to transmit audiovisual content from our iPad, iPhone or Mac.

It is likely that around March Apple will announce a keynote to present its new iPad range and it could be the ideal time to present this new home automation hub that would have homeOS inside, an operating system that could be separated from WWDC24 to leave more time for other more important operating systems such as iOS, iPadOS, watchOS or visionOS.