An intriguing reference to a previously unknown Apple software platform name, homeOS, has been spotted in a company job listing. The finding is another data point to join the pile of rumors surrounding Apple’s interest in the smart home. Recent Apple product launches in this arena have been somewhat disappointing, such as the discontinuation of the larger HomePod speaker and the release of a very minor Apple TV 4K update.
The ‘homeOS’ name is stylised to match Apple’s other platform naming, like iOS, tvOS and macOS with a lowercase letter and no space between the prefix and the ‘OS’ suffix. This suggests it will have a customer-facing presence at some point in the future.
As reported by 9to5Mac last year, the HomePod and HomePod mini runs a variant of tvOS. To customers, software updates for the HomePod are simply referred to as generic software updates.
It is possible that internally this version of tvOS is referred to as ‘homeOS’ and this detail innocently leaked out into Apple’s job listing copy. It could also be a sneak peek at something larger in scope, perhaps a new OS that will run on future as-yet-unannounced Apple hardware.
In April, Bloomberg reported that Apple was working on ambitious smart home products including a combo set-top box that would compete with the likes of the Roku Streambar. One of the projects in development supposedly looks like a HomePod with a touch-screen, resembling an iPad on a robotic arm that can move and twist to face the person in the room.
In a recent interview, Apple Home VP said the company is committed to smart home audio products despite recently discontinuing the HomePod speaker. Apple is also a founding member of the Matter initiative, a new standards-based protocol for smart home accessories. It is expected that the Home app in iOS 15 will be able to integrate natively with forthcoming Matter accessories.
We’ll have to wait for WWDC next week to see if anything tangible comes out of this ‘homeOS’ discovery.
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