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Apple’s mysterious homeOS referenced again in tvOS 17, and I think it might debut soon

Published Jan 30th, 2024 7:14AM EST
Apple WWDC 2021
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple has a mysterious operating system it’s likely been testing for years: homeOS, which would be a variation of tvOS but for more devices than your Apple TV or HomePod. References to this system have been around since 2021, when Apple was looking for engineers to work on this project.

This happened a few times over the years, and when the media spotted these homeOS job listings, Apple would change the description to tvOS and HomePod instead. While I’ll try to explain in this article why I think this new system might finally be coming, I’d also like to point in the opposite direction.

During the Apple Vision Pro rumor cycle, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reported that Apple would call this operating system xrOS. Ultimately, Apple decided on visionOS. Still, it doesn’t mean he was wrong. Instead, Apple’s marketing team decided on this name, as there are several code references for xrOS and several developer’s sessions, Apple’s engineer referred to visionOS as xrOS. That said, every homeOS mention could be tvOS and HomePod Software. But here’s why I think it’s not.

homeOS references tease a sea of yet-to-be-seen home products

Pair of HomePod 2 featuresImage source: José Adorno for BGR

The latest homeOS reference was spotted by MacRumors‘ Aaron Perris. According to him, there are new references on the tvOS 17.4 beta code that Apple is continually working on this software behind the scenes.

Most likely, this software would be used for a HomePod with a screen. Bloomberg and other outlets have reported on a HomePod with iPad integration, like an Amazon Echo Show product. Apple is also apparently working on a HomePod with a circular display. That said, instead of the current wave animations that we have on the HomePod, we could see music and weather data, for example.

MacRumors says tvOS 17.4 added a SharePlay feature for the HomePod, which would let people scan a QR Code to the Apple Music app on the TV so others could start a SharePlay session to add new songs to the list.

This could hint at an upcoming feature for this homeOS system. Apple is also said to be working on several new home products, which, once again, could integrate with this upcoming operating system. I won’t find it weird if Apple renames tvOS for homeOS as it launches more home products.

Once again, WWDC could be the perfect place for Apple to announce these major changes. BGR will keep reporting about Apple’s upcoming products as we learn more about them.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.