iPad Pro and Apple Homepod photoshopped together

iPad Pro and Apple Homepod photoshopped together (Image credit: Apple)

Apple is reportedly working on a new “home accessory” according to code discovered by MacRumors, adding to the list of the company’s attempts at diversifying its portfolio.

Within the code, one of Apple’s current experiments is referred to as “HomeAccessory17,1.” It’s noted that this is similar to the way HomePod (Apple’s smart speaker) is listed in code, referred to as “AudioAccessory.”

This isn’t the first time Apple has had leaks involving this device. The term “homeOS” was spotted in a job listing that was swiftly taken down by Apple in 2021, referencing that the job for Senior iOS Engineer would involve working on “iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and homeOS.”

It’s propped up here and there since then, with more references to job listings and its presence in tvOS 17.4 code, but it’s looking more and more like the eventual unveiling of homeOS will be a sure thing. 

It’s believed that the “17,1” in the code would result in it receiving the A18 chip, making it compatible with Apple Intelligence — the company’s initiative in AI, announced recently at WWDC 2024.

What can we expect?

If this home accessory is truly compatible with Apple Intelligence, there’s no saying what it would be capable of, but we can make some assumptions based on what we already know about it.

Apple Intelligence’s current features involve empowered writing tools, prioritized notifications, and mail, summaries of text or even audio transcripts, an updated focus that has AI determine what might be important enough to interrupt you, and Smart Reply for quick responses.

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Considering Apple’s ecosystem is one that’s heavily interconnected, with many of its devices linking with one another, these features will likely be present within homeOS, especially anything relating to notifications. 

Something like Smart Reply would be particularly useful on a device of this kind, allowing you to drum up responses by answering a few AI-generated questions without having to use the smart display like a keyboard.

Apple’s rumored smart display proves it’s diversifying

It’s no secret that Apple has been rather adventurous as of late, diving headfirst into new technological sectors that it hasn’t graced previously. While not all endeavors are successful, like the recent failure of its Pay Later loan service, it’s still impressive to see the company extend its reach without fear.

This unnamed smart display is only one of Apple’s many bizarre ideas.

The Apple Ring is still heavily rumored, with the company patenting different features relating to smart ring technology, like pressure-sensitive inputs and detecting input in VR/AR.

While patents don’t necessarily confirm anything, it would be a great time to launch, as its existence could deliver competition to the Samsung Galaxy Ring that will be officially unveiled at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked on July 10.

Another one of its bizarre ideas that never actually made it anywhere is a 14-inch iPad, which would be undeniably massive in comparison to the 12.9-inch iPad, as that’s the largest model currently available.

And how can we ignore Apple’s rumored at-home robots? Sure, it’s hard to imagine that will actually come to fruition, with Apple analyst Gene Muster saying the probability of seeing a product in the next five years is “slim to none,” but the company is always thinking about what it could do.

While we’ve gotten increasingly ridiculous with some of these rumor examples, there’s a huge gap in the probability between Apple developing a smart display that’s been rumored for years versus the prospect of Apple-branded robots taking over your home. I mean, has Tim Cook even watched The Mitchells Vs. the Machines?

Will Apple’s smart display actually happen?

We cannot confirm anything with absolute certainty, and all we have so far are rumors, but the likelihood of Apple’s smart display happening is very high. 

The latest leak gives us concrete proof that some form of home accessory code exists within Apple’s backend, but even if that wasn’t present, it would be shocking if Apple didn’t develop a smart display to begin with.

Amazon and Google are the two biggest competitors that Apple would have to go into business against if it does enter this market, but frankly, the company has the technology to back itself up. 

Its recent investments in AI, and already existing functionality with Siri, would be perfect for a smart display. Beyond that, Apple’s smart speaker, the HomePod, already exists so what’s stopping the company from sticking a screen on top of it?

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Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn’t writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.

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