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Future HomePod smart display hiding in Apple TV’s tvOS?

For a few years now we’ve been hearing about a potential Apple smart display that could rival the Echo Show or Google Nest Hub.

Essentially, it’d be an iPad stuck to a HomePod with some Apple wizardry to pull the whole thing together as a cohesive proposition that feels must-have.

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It’s gone a bit quiet on that front in recent months, but the recent versions of the tvOS 18 beta has again raised expectations Apple might follow through on the new product category.

9to5Mac has spotted a touchscreen interface lurking within tvOS 18, in an area that’s not designed for public view. The interface, known internally as PlasterBoard because it contains core system elements, includes a passcode keypad for a touchscreen device.

As tvOS doesn’t operate on touchscreen devices or have a passcode option that operates in this manner, it’d make sense that this would be a personal device similar to an iPad. The report says the interface is still in its earliest stages and the snoops weren’t able to graduate far beyond the passcode screen.

Image credit: 9to5Mac

However, that’s enough to suggest, at least, that Apple is still preparing for this new category that may see a smart display that runs off, or at least has access to tvOS as a means of running video content.

Amazon Echo Show models, for instance, switch from the standard OS to the Fire TV experience when necessary. It might be a tactic Apple deploys here too. The site also believes that Apple has been testing tvOS on an iPad mini with the future smart display in mind.

While Bloomberg reports it is on the slate for 2025, could it be the “one more thing” surprise at Apple’s autumn 2024 showcase?

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