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Touchscreen-ready interface hidden in tvOS beta amid rumors of HomePod with display

We’ve seen a lot of evidence pointing to a new Apple home accessory (like a HomePod with a display) in recent months. And to corroborate all these rumors, the latest beta version of tvOS 18 available to developers has a new hidden interface that is touchscreen-ready.

tvOS 18 beta 3 hides new touchscreen-ready interface

The new tvOS interface, or system shell, is internally called “PlasterBoard.” Similar to SpringBoard (the iOS system shell), it provides some core interface elements for the system. 9to5Mac was able to confirm the existence of the new interface through the tvOS 18 beta 3 code.

Of course, this interface wasn’t meant to be seen by the public, but we found a way to access it. For instance, the new tvOS PlasterBoard interface has a Lock Screen with a passcode keypad very similar to the one on the iPhone and iPad. The PlasterBoard interface seems to be at an early stage of development, so there’s not much to see beyond basic Lock Screen controls.

Code and how the interface behaves strongly suggest that it was made for touchscreens and not for regular TVs. It’s also worth noting that there’s no option to lock Apple TV with a passcode, which only makes sense for more personal devices.

HomePod with a display

Last week, backend code revealed the existence of an unreleased “HomeAccessory17,1” device. There are currently no Apple products under this identifier category, but it’s very similar to the “AudioAccessory” identifier used for HomePods. Just like HomePods, this device also runs tvOS – but is based on the yet-to-be-announced A18 chip.

tvOS 17 references HomePod screen iPad concept

It’s been a while since rumors suggested that Apple is working on different versions of the HomePod with a screen. 9to5Mac has learned that Apple employees have been internally running tvOS on the iPad mini to explore how the system looks and behaves on an 8-inch screen.

A Bloomberg report in February revealed that Apple has been experimenting with a device that combines Apple TV and HomePod with a built-in camera. It would work similarly to the Amazon Echo Show. Another report claims that this new device will have a screen that “swivels like a robotic arm.”

At this point, it’s pretty much confirmed that Apple has indeed been working on a new HomePod with a screen that runs a modified version of tvOS for touchscreens. This would give users more freedom to interact with the device without having to rely on Siri, along with the possibility of watching videos directly on it.

When will Apple unveil this new touchscreen HomePod with tvOS? Well, that’s still a mystery. Bloomberg believes that the product will be announced in 2025, which would make more sense.

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Avatar for Filipe Espósito Filipe Espósito

Filipe Espósito is a Brazilian tech Journalist who started covering Apple news on iHelp BR with some exclusive scoops — including the reveal of the new Apple Watch Series 5 models in titanium and ceramic. He joined 9to5Mac to share even more tech news around the world.

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