iOS 16 beta reveals clue about unknown HomePod model | Cult of Mac

iOS 16 beta reveals clue about unknown HomePod model

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Could the clue refer to a new version of the discontinued HomePod?
Could the clue refer to a new version of the discontinued HomePod?
Photo: Apple

Folks noticed Monday that the new iOS 16 beta for developers contains a tantalizing clue about an unknown, unreleased HomePod.

Could it be a new version of the discontinued large HomePod Apple dropped in favor of the better-selling HomePod mini?

Unreleased HomePod shows up in iOS beta code

One thing is clear: An unreleased HomePod appears to be referenced in the first iOS 16 beta. What’s not clear is what the model is or when we’ll see it.

Apple showcased iOS 16, the next major iPhone operating system, at WWDC22 on Monday. The first developer beta is underway ahead of more developer and public betas. So plenty of folks are combing over the code for hidden features.

One secret the dock gave up is a reference to an Apple HomePod. And the code indicates the product is not the HomePod mini or the original, discontinued HomePod.

As 9to5Mac first noticed, the unknown HomePod is labeled in the code as “AudioAccessory6.” The HomePod mini is “AudioAccessory5” and the original HomePod is “AudioAccessory1.”

The clue in the code strongly indicates iOS 16 will support a new HomePod model.

Rumors about a new HomePod

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said a new HomePod may come out in late 2022 or early 2023. He didn’t speculate over its relation to the original, larger HomePod or to the HomePod mini.

He said “there may not be much innovation in hardware design.” That may suggest Apple will simply upgrade a version of the original HomePod or the HomePod mini with better specs.

Mark Gurman at Bloomberg reported that Apple is experimenting with HomePod prototypes combined with Apple TV. But a product like that may be quite far from launch.

For a rundown of all the possibilities, including HomePod tie-ins with HomeKit and iPad, click here.

It’s tough to confirm HomePod updates because they don’t follow a fixed cycle like iPhones do, with a major annual release. Major HomePod launches took place in February 2018 and November 2020, with a 33-month gap between models.