realityOS rumors? Why I’m still waiting for homeOS to become a reality

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With Apple’s reported Mixed Reality headset likely to be unveiled in 2022 or 2023, more references to realityOS were found within the company’s code. Though there’s another operating system that’s been rumored for over a year now that I still wish Apple would actually announce: homeOS.

A few days before WWDC21, a company job listing revealed that Apple was hiring an engineer to work on an unknown software platform name called homeOS. At the time, 9to5Mac speculated that it could be a mistake, that Apple could be referring to its tvOS platform, or that it could be readying this new operating system.

During WWDC21, the company talked a lot about home applications, but pretty much forgot about tvOS 15, but it didn’t change the name of its operating system. At that time, I wrote what benefits a new OS could bring if Apple had announced homeOS:

“Naming software as homeOS would give Apple more room to create a better home ecosystem. As people start to connect their houses with more devices, the HomePod mini and Apple TV could be the hub for all things connected. 

(…) Another path homeOS could open is the possibility of all developers starting testing the HomePod operating system. As for now, only invited people can preview what’s next on the HomePod, but homeOS could open up more traditional beta testing for both platforms and enable developers to easily create for the HomePod.”

Then, in November, homeOS was once again spotted in a job listing for a senior iOS UI engineer on the Apple Music team. Since then, we haven’t of this operating system again, but here’s why it should become a reality.

With tvOS 15 finally shining a bit more with beta version 15.4 – and Apple recently bringing Lossless and Spatial Audio support to HomePod – it’s only a matter of time before the company announces more products focused on the home space.

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Apple is already part of the Matter project, which is creating a home standard for smart home products. Apple could also focus more on its iPads, Apple TVs, and HomePods to improve users’ experiences with home technologies.

For example, Apple could totally make iPads the hub of home appliances, since many people use old tablets for specific tasks, such as checking the weather through the house, security cameras, and more. There’s also this amazing wall mount here where you could place your iPad wherever you want in your house.

Why could homeOS be a big deal?

As of now, I don’t think tvOS should change to homeOS, as Apple’s been pushing to expand Apple TV’s capabilities. On the other hand, I do think the company’s set-top box is a fundamental part of this rumored operating system. Even HomePod’s copycat operating system is a real part of what homeOS could be, with Intercom capabilities and now Captive Network support.

If you combine that with other rumors, such as a possible new smart home product that would be an Apple TV integrated with a smart speaker and camera hardware, alongside Apple’s focus on services, homeOS makes plenty of sense – even as a piece of iPadOS, tvOS, and HomePod Software.

9to5Mac’s Take

Back to realityOS. Although analysts are making bets about Apple’s Mixed Reality headset, and references to realityOS make everything more real, I think Apple still has some cards up its sleeves to not only make this next WWDC a big one, but also surprise its customers with a better ecosystem inside people’s homes.

I think that iPad, Apple TV, HomePod, and some other products yet to be announced will make homeOS a reality, as Apple just needs to wrap things up.

What do you think about rumors regarding homeOS? Do you believe Apple will ever unveil this operating system? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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