tvOS 18 Hints at HomePod With Touchscreen Display

There have been multiple rumors about Apple's work on various Apple TV and HomePod hybrid devices with a touchscreen over the last few years, and new findings in the tvOS 18 update further hint at the development that Apple is doing in the home space.

Second Generation HomePod With Top LCD Feature
A unique touchscreen interface was allegedly found buried in tvOS 18 beta 3 by 9to5Mac, and the finding is actually relevant to the ‌HomePod‌ because the ‌HomePod‌'s software is an offshoot of the tvOS software. The interface is called "PlasterBoard" internally, and PlasterBoard is in line with the naming for other Apple interfaces, which include SpringBoard for iOS and iPadOS, PineBoard for tvOS, SoundBoard for ‌HomePod‌, and SurfBoard for visionOS. The interface appears to feature just a Lock Screen with a touch-based keyboard for entering passcodes as of right now, with little else discovered about it.

The ‌Apple TV‌ does not include an option for locking it with a passcode, nor does the ‌HomePod‌ because as of right now, the ‌HomePod‌ only supports simple control gestures. The design that was found in the beta closely resembles the on-screen keypad that you see on an iPhone or an iPad.

Rumors have suggested that Apple is working on several home control devices, and the mix of rumors we've heard indicate that multiple development paths and prototypes are being explored. There have been rumors of a simple ‌HomePod‌ with a touch display at the top, a hybrid ‌HomePod‌ and Apple TV device with a camera, a ‌HomePod‌ with a screen and a camera, and an iPad/HomePod sort of combo that works as a centralized home hub.

A standard ‌HomePod‌ with an LED touch-based display at the top of the device could potentially be the first HomePod and display combo that we see. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said a HomePod with 7-inch display would launch at some point in 2024, and there have been leaked prototype images.

Last week, MacRumors found code referencing a "Home Accessory" device with a HomeAccessory17,1 identifier. No existing ‌HomePod‌ or ‌Apple TV‌ devices use the HomeAccessory identifier, but it is similar to the AudioAccessory identifier that Apple uses internally for the ‌HomePod‌. Based on the numbering, this upcoming device is equipped with the same A18 chip we expect to see in the iPhone 16 lineup.

Related Roundups: HomePod, HomePod mini

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Top Rated Comments

betasp Avatar
1 week ago
That design in the photo is just silly from a usability perspective. Who stands over top this HomePod for information?
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Oblivious.Robot Avatar
1 week ago
Throw everything at the wall to see what sticks.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gleepskip Avatar
1 week ago

Yeah there's no way they'd go with this design. I like what Amazon and Google are doing, and I wish Apple would make a horizontal magnetic dock for iPad that, when connected, changes the iPad's interface to something more akin to one of the larger Echo Show's.
I would love that, but Apple will never do it. They want you to buy a standalone device with a screen for maximum profit instead of a BYOT dock like Google have.

Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macfacts Avatar
1 week ago

That design in the photo is just silly from a usability perspective. Who stands over top this HomePod for information?
Might as well put the display on the bottom of the homepod.?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
1 week ago
This hardware design will not work for people who keep their speakers on the top shelf…
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Premium1 Avatar
1 week ago
If it looks like the image, that is such a stupid design. I could MAYBE see if it was like what amazon and Google were doing (with a larger screen in front) but this just seems dumb (and terrible from a usability standpoint). Never once have I thought "man I really wish I could touch the screen on the homepod to interact with it."
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)