Mysterious 'homeOS' platform leaks in Apple job listing [Updated] | Cult of Mac

Mysterious ‘homeOS’ platform leaks in Apple job listing [Updated]


HomePod mini lives up to its name
Apple could ramp up its focus on smart home devices.
Photo: Apple

There’s macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS. How about homeOS, signaling a ramping up of Apple’s smart home ambitions?

That is one take-home from a new Apple Music job posting spotted online. It references a hitherto-unannounced mobile operating system called “homeOS.” While Apple rolled out its HomeKit smart home platform in 2014, it has — to date — been a part of iOS/iPadOS, rather than its own fully fledged operating system. That could change soon.

Apple posted the job listing for a senior iOS engineer on May 25. The ad doesn’t elaborate on what exactly homeOS will comprise, simply noting that it’s a software platform belonging to Apple.

“You’ll get to work with system engineers across Apple, learning the inner-workings of iOS, watchOS, tvOS and homeOS, and optimizing your code for performance in ways only Apple can. Come join our team and make a real difference for music lovers worldwide,” it said.

It also included a second reference to the mysterious homeOS.

“The ‌Apple Music‌ Frameworks team owns the technology stack that enables the system-integrated ‌Apple Music‌ experience on all of our mobile platforms: iOS, watchOS, and homeOS,” it said.

Update: Apple later replaced the references to “homeOS” with the word “HomePod” in its job description.

What is homeOS?

So, what might homeOS actually be? HomeKit works using an Apple device — an iPad, Apple TV set-top box or HomePod smart speaker — as a hub to control compatible accessories like lights and door locks.

iPad runs on iPadOS, obviously. And Apple TV runs on tvOS, a fork of iOS. HomePods currently run on what Apple calls “HomePod Software,” also based on iOS. It makes sense that Apple might rename the HomePod’s operating system “homeOS.”

Another possibility is that Apple could simply be rebranding HomeKit. Either way, it could indicate Apple plans to seriously bolster its smart home initiatives. Apple has, as noted, been working in this domain for a few years now, offering support for Internet of Things devices via the iPhone and other devices. But Cupertino failed to focus on the smart home quite as intensely as some hoped.

Still, Apple is backing Matter, a new standard designed to make smart home devices work across platforms.

“Matter makes it easier for device manufacturers to build devices, and to ensure they are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit with Siri, Google’s Assistant, SmartThings, and others,” according to a statement from the Connectivity Standards Alliance.

New Apple smart home hub coming?

Recently, rumors indicated Apple is working on new smart home hub devices that could blend HomePod, Apple TV, a camera and screen, along with some new home automation tech. However, these new products remain in the early stages of development. That makes it unlikely they would be the sole reason for the creation of homeOS. However, all these clues could signal broader interest in this area.

Interestingly, Microsoft has been working on a smart home platform called HomeOS dating back to 2010. If Apple decides to go ahead with its own homeOS, this could be reminiscent of Apple’s brief skirmish with Cisco, from which it “borrowed” the names iPhone and iOS back in the day.

What are your expectations for homeOS? Will Apple talk about it at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Via: Apple Insider


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