Apple Rolls Out tvOS 17.4 Beta 3 With Fresh Evidence of HomePod With Display: Report

Technology


Apple has been rumoured to launch a new HomePod that comes with a display for almost a year. Now, new evidence of it being in the advanced stages of development has reportedly surfaced in Apple’s software. Just months after the tech giant launched the second generation of HomePod in January 2023, reports of a display-fitted speaker, similar to the Amazon Echo Show, began making the rounds. The audio product is said to sport a 7-inch touchscreen display that will function as an entertainment system as well as an interface for video calling.

The hints came from the codes within the tvOS 17.4 beta 3 update that was rolled out on Tuesday (February 13). 9to5Google spotted the existence of an unnamed device registered as Z314, which is capable of running the OS, mentioned in the strings of codes of the update. This new device reportedly runs on the A15 Bionic chipset. Further, the publication also found that production versions of the device were under test and development is ongoing. This could mean whatever product the code refers to, is likely close to entering production.

While at first glance, all of this might appear to be unrelated pieces of information, the report claims that they point towards a new HomePod with a display attached. As tvOS runs on both Apple TV as well as HomePod, the device could likely point at either of the two devices. However, none of them require the A15 Bionic chipset. An earlier report has highlighted that Apple might be testing tvOS 17 on the iPad mini 6 as a display companion for the HomePod. Incidentally, the iPad mini 6 is powered by A15 Bionic chipset.

Apart from this, there were additional hints that point to the new HomePod. As per the report, the update adds the SwiftUI framework to the HomePod firmware. SwiftUI is a user interface framework for building user interfaces for Apple’s operating systems. HangTracer, a system to debug unresponsive UI was also added. The report points out that these additions would not be required for the HomePod unless Apple was planning to add a display interface to it.

In March 2023, tipster Ming-Chi Kuo first tipped that a display-fitted HomePod could be in the works. He highlighted that the new product could feature a 7-inch display and might launch in the first half of 2024. Tianma Microelectronics, an electronic technology company that supplies displays to other businesses, was said to be the exclusive panel supplier for Apple’s redesigned HomePod. More details of the purported smart speaker with a built-in display are likely to arrive in the coming months.


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