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Apple’s “homeOS” slip fits with prior rumors about new smart home products

A smart speaker about the size of a mason jar.
Enlarge / Apple’s discontinued HomePod.

A reference to “homeOS” was recently found in an Apple job listing, suggesting that the company may have plans to change how it classifies and presents the software running on devices like the HomePod mini in the future.

Twitter user Javier Lacort discovered the terminology in an Apple Music-related job listing and posted a screenshot to Twitter. “You’ll get to work with system engineers across Apple, learning the inner-workings of iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and homeOS,” the posting reads. “The Apple Music Frameworks team owns the technology stack that enables the system-integrated Apple Music experience on all of our mobile platforms: iOS, watchOS, and homeOS,” it adds shortly afterward.

The job listing appeared to later be updated to say “HomePod” instead of “homeOS” in the first case and “tvOS” instead of “homeOS” in the second case.

Currently, the software running on the HomePod mini has no public-facing name, though it appears to be a variant of tvOS, which itself is a variant of iOS. It’s possible, of course, that Apple simply refers to the operating system for HomePods as “homeOS” internally and unofficially, and the author of this job listing simply let that informal terminology slip.

But the potential leak is more intriguing in part because of a recent Bloomberg report claiming that Apple plans to further expand its smart home efforts and that Cupertino is working on one or more products that combine some of the features of the Apple TV 4K and the HomePod. For example, Bloomberg’s sources said that Apple is working on a home theater sound bar that uses technology seen in the HomePod but which can act as an Apple TV as well, giving users access to various streaming video apps, as well as Apple Music, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Arcade content.

Should those plans come to fruition, homeOS could act as a name for a unified operating system from the HomePod, Apple TV, and new smart home products that Apple plans to introduce in the future. It could be closer to an iPadOS-like rebranding than an entirely new operating system, though.

Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, kicks off this coming Monday. That’s the most likely time and place for an announcement if homeOS does become a user- or developer-facing product.

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