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What is homeOS? More evidence of an Apple smart display?

Apple may be preparing the software for its long-rumoured part-iPad, part-HomePod device, judging by a recent software update.

The latest tvOS beta update includes a reference to something called homeOS, which is likely to be a reference to a new operating system that could offer hints about a new Apple smart display.

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The reference was spied by MacRumors and suggests Apple is either planning a dedicated operating system for the HomePod speaker range – which currently runs on a version of tvOS – or is planning to expand the line with a new device that would require a more fleshed out operating system.

This isn’t the first time the homeOS moniker has appeared, as the report points out. In the summer of 2021, Apple mentioned ‘homeOS’ in job openings, but nixed it from the postings when the press picked up on it. 18 months on, we’re seeing it again in the tvOS 17.4 beta.

It’s quite possible that this is semantics and a sign Apple is more clearly defining its software for smart home products. However, it might well a further indication we’ll get an Apple-branded smart display to compete with options from Amazon and Google.

Meanwhile – amid reports of a brand new OS on the scene to join iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, macOS, and more recently visionOS – the next version of iOS is in line to be a massive update according to a well-connected Apple reporter.

In his recent Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s mark Gurman reckons iOS 18 – due this September – could be the biggest update in the company’s history.

He wrote: “I’m told that the new operating system is seen within the company as one of the biggest iOS updates — if not the biggest — in the company’s history. With that knowledge, Apple’s developers conference in June should be pretty exciting.”

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