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New leak adds weight to the rumored touchscreen HomePod

tvOS 18 beta 3's code packs what could be the UI of a future Apple smart home device.

Published onJuly 10, 2024

The top of the HomePod 2nd gen
Roger Fingas / Android Authority
  • A lock screen’s user interface has been discovered in the tvOS 18 beta 3 code, corroborating rumors of an upcoming touchscreen HomePod.
  • The smart home device is expected to run a tweaked variant of tvOS and offer an iPad-like display.
  • Previous reports indicate Apple has been internally testing tvOS on an iPad, which further confirms these rumors.

We’ve been reading rumors about an upcoming touchscreen HomePod for years now. Apple is reportedly working on a smart speaker with an iPad-like display that could potentially compete with Google’s Nest Hub and similar products. The latest tvOS 18 beta build further confirms the existence of such a device, as the code packs UI elements dedicated to it.

9to5Mac has found a touchscreen-ready user interface in tvOS 18 beta 3’s code. The hidden UI resembles a lock screen, similar to that of iPads. Given that Apple TVs can’t be locked and aren’t touchscreen-optimized, the UI is believed to belong to the upcoming touchscreen HomePod.

The presence of a lock screen on this rumored device is a bit strange, as smart displays are generally shared between household members. Nevertheless, Apple’s own concept could potentially be more personal, prompting the need for such security measures. The company may also be experimenting with different software features, and the lock screen may not ship with the device — assuming the device itself ever sees the light of day.

Earlier reports suggest that Apple has been internally experimenting with tweaked versions of tvOS on an iPad. The newly discovered lock screen in the tvOS 18 beta 3 code only confirms that the company is indeed developing a smart home device of this nature. The end result could be a touchscreen HomePod with a FaceTime camera running a modified build of tvOS. Whether this rumored product will be a stationary smart display of sorts or a more lively tabletop robot is yet to be seen.

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