Leak reveals new Apple TVs and possibly a whole new kind of HomePod too

Two new Apple TV models appear to be imminent and the rumoured Apple Home hub may just have leaked too

Apple TV 4K
(Image credit: Apple)
Quick Summary

There are references to three new products in Apple's beta code: two new Apple TVs and a mysterious new product labelled HomeAccessory. Could this be the rumoured Smart HomePod with a display?

One of the more reliable ways to find unannounced Apple products is to go poking through Apple's own code. Over the years all kinds of devices have been revealed because Apple's code has contained references to them. And now it looks like it's happened again with references to two new Apple TVs and what appears to be a new smart home device too.

The code, discovered by the eagle-eyed folks at MacRumors, mentions three devices that aren't in the current Apple family: AppleTV14,4, AppleTV 14,5 and HomeAccessory17.1. We're very familiar with the Apple TV identifiers, but Home Accessory is a new one.

What can we learn from Apple's TV and Home Accessory code?

Apple's internal identifiers are pretty straightforward: they're the product, the chip generation and a product version number. The current Apple TV 4K has the identifier 14,1, so the two new identifiers - 14,4 and 14,5 – suggest new models with variants of the same processor, the A15 Bionic. That ties in with rumours of an Apple TV refresh later in 2024, most likely around September but possibly sooner.

The HomeAccessory one is much more interesting because Apple hasn't used that identifier before; the closest is AudioAccessory, which is used for HomePods. Given that the chip number 17 is the same as the one referred to in the identifiers for this year's iPhone 16 range, that strongly suggests that whatever the device is, it'll have Apple's A18 chip inside it. The code also indicates that it'll be running a flavour of Apple's tvOS.

You don't need to be Sherlock Homes to see what these multiple clues are pointing to. HomeAccessory's similarity to AudioAccessory indicates that it's likely to be a sibling for the HomePods, and the presence of tvOS or a variant of it clearly means a screen. As for the processor, you don't need that kind of power for a simple home hub. But if you want to run Apple Intelligence, you do.

We've been hearing rumours of a HomePod with a screen and of a dedicated Apple home device for quite some time now, and while it's unclear whether those rumours indicate two different devices or just one it's very clear that Apple is working on new smart home hardware. That was previously predicted for a 2024 launch but back in March, Bloomberg said that it wasn't going to launch any time soon or even this year; the estimate is "2025 at the earliest".

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).