As rumors fly about a new, smaller Homepod smart speaker from Apple comes news that the HomePod’s operating system has been changed from being based on iOS to being based on tvOS.
9to5Mac recently looked at the HomePod code and found the changes in the software. While watchOS, tvOS, and the HomePod software are all variants of iOS, each one is customized for the device they run on, with unique APIs, interface, and more.
Previous versions of the HomePod’s software were based on the software running the iPhone and iPad, that HomePod software is now derived from the tvOS branch of the code.
9to5Mac says it believes the change to a tvOS code base for the HomePod is because the Apple TV and HomePod are both always-on devices plugged into power, so they don’t require the same optimizations as the portable flavors of iOS. Both devices also act as a Home hub for HomeKit, which could also be behind the code-sharing shift.
Another reason for the move could be that iSO 14 will end support for devices using the A8 chip, and the Homepod uses the A8. Swapping to a tvOS base would allow Apple to keep updating the HomePod for the near future.
Recent rumors have suggested that Apple is developing a new smaller and more affordable version of the HomePod, which will launch later this year, which could be another reason behind the code shift.
A Bloomberg report from this morning says a new HomePod smart speaker, which will be about half the size of the original model, but retaining a similar design, will launch in the second half of 2020. The new HomePod is expected to feature a lower price than the current model, to allow the new speaker to compete with competing options from Amazon and others.
Since we’re talking about tvOS, 9to5Mac also says one of their trusted sources tells them the much-rumored next-generation Apple TV could be powered by the same A14 chip that will be used in the new iPhone 12 lineup, suggesting a fall release for the new Apple TV.