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The Z314 codenamed item that appears in Apple’s tvOS 17.4 beta 3 update may be related to the upcoming HomePod.

For nearly a year, there have been rumors that Apple will release a new HomePod that features a display. According to reports, fresh proof that it is in the advanced phases of development has now revealed in Apple software. Shortly after the tech giant debuted the second generation of HomePod in January 2023, rumors about a speaker fitted with a display that resembled the Amazon Echo Show started to circulate. According to reports, the audio device would have a 7-inch touchscreen display that can be used as both an interface for video calls and an entertainment system.

The codes in the tvOS 17.4 beta 3 update, which was released on Tuesday (February 13), provided the clues. 9to5Google discovered that an unidentified device with the registration number Z314 exists and is able to run the operating system that is referenced in the update’s code strings. According to reports, the A15 Bionic chipset powers this new gadget. The article also revealed that work is still proceeding and that test versions of the device were in production. This could indicate that the product to which the code alludes is probably about to go into production.

All of this might seem like random facts at first, but the report suggests that they all lead to a new HomePod that has a display attached. The gadget may point at either Apple TV or HomePod because tvOS is compatible with both platforms. None of them, though, call for the A15 Bionic chipset. Apple may be testing tvOS 17 on the iPad mini 6 as a display partner for the HomePod, according to a previous report. By the way, the A15 Bionic chipset powers the iPad mini 6.

In addition, there were other clues that alluded to the upcoming HomePod. The SwiftUI framework is added to the HomePod firmware with this upgrade, according to the report. A user interface framework called SwiftUI is used to create user interfaces for Apple operating systems. Also incorporated was HangTracer, a tool for troubleshooting unresponsive user interfaces. As the story notes, unless Apple intended to provide the HomePod a display interface, these upgrades would not be necessary.

The earliest tip that suggested a HomePod paired with a display might have come from tipster Ming-Chi Kuo in March 2023. He made note of the possibility that the new product may emerge in the first half of 2024 and have a 7-inch display. It was reported that Apple’s revised HomePod’s exclusive panel supplier is Tianma Microelectronics, an electronic technology company that offers panels to other businesses. In the upcoming months, more information on the rumored smart speaker with an integrated display should become available.

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