Apple homeOS could launch at WWDC 2024 to take the fight to Amazon

A new smart home operating system incoming?

Apple HomePod
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple might be about to add a new OS to its already extensive roster, alongside iOS, iPadOS and more. 

This month's tvOS 17.4 beta seemingly contains a reference to a "homeOS", something that has been rumoured for years but never actually surfaced. 

The logic behind the addition would be fairly clear, giving Apple a chance to more formally tie a ring around its smart home presence and load any new products that it's working on in that space with matching software packages.

That said, since the HomePod and HomePod mini have been relatively free of any company in the Apple lineup in recent years, it's not like there are a lot of products awaiting cleaner software. Still, those speakers have flitted between modified versions of iOS and tvOS, so there's clearly room for clarification. 

The reference was caught by the team at MacRumors, and suggests that Apple is far from done with its work on smart home tech.

Persistent rumours suggest that it's working on a smart home display device, like Amazon's Echo Show lineup. And, given the stunning tablet that you get if you buy an iPad, that could be a pretty lovely smart screen when it arrives. 

In theory, it'll likely be wall-mounted, and there's also the chance that we'll get a new HomePod with more of a display, as a sort of middle ground between a speaker and a screen. 

We also haven't had much of a change to the standard HomePod in a long while now, so there's always the possibility of newer and improved "simpler" smart home speakers to really take on Amazon's dominance with the Echo lineup.

This isn't the first time homeOS has cropped up, either - the term was spotted in some job listings from Apple a couple of years ago, suggesting that it's been a long-term project in Cupertino. 

With WWDC standing as the next big tentpole in Apple's typical annual schedule, and summer still a long way off, there could be a few months before we get anything concrete about homeOS, if we ever do.

Still, this could suggest that we're about to hit an interesting time for Apple users who want to embrace smart home tech. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.