Nearly a year ago, the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple had a HomePod with a 7in screen up its figurative sleeve.

Then, something considerably less exciting fell out of said surprisingly expansive sleeve: a HomePod with a tiny LCD square screen on top of it

Fortunately, it sounds like the two may coexist after all. Last October, 9to5Mac found evidence of Apple testing tvOS on iPad mini, which sounds a lot like Apple is planning on taking the Google approach to smart screens and slapping an iPad on a speaker.

The site has returned with more evidence that this is in the works. In a code dive of the latest tvOS beta 3, 9to5Mac found a reference to a new device catchily called Z314. Now this could just refer to a new HomePod, given the smart speaker runs a fork of tvOS called audioOS — if it weren’t for another key piece of evidence. 

The report adds that not only does tvOS 17.4 beta 3 add the SwiftUI framework to the HomePod, but also something called “hangtracerd” — a tool “used to debug unresponsive UI in iOS apps”. 

As the site points out, there would be no reason to add this to HomePods if a screen wasn’t incoming. (Other than to mess with sites that report on every possible detail of upcoming Apple releases, of course.)

There’s one other key detail the code dive reveals about the mysterious Z314 — and that’s that it uses the A15 Bionic chip. That’s the same processor found in both the current iPad mini and iPhone 13 so it’s no slouch in terms of power. Expect zippier performance than an Echo Show, in other words.

If you don’t fancy shelling out for yet another piece of premium Apple hardware, the company may have an alternative way of getting a smart screen in the future. Back in 2022, it was reported that Apple was considering a way of turning your old iPad into a smart screen when not in use. It’s possible Apple may unveil a dock for this purpose at the same time, so watch this space.

Alan Martin
Alan is an experienced and versatile writer with the unique distinction of having written for both The New Statesman and Nuts. The list of publications Alan has written for doesn't stop there. His work has also been published in: Wired, CNET, Gizmodo UK, ShortList, NME, TechRadar, The i, The Independent, The Evening Standard, City Metric, Macworld, Pocket Gamer, Expert Reviews, Coach, The Inquirer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Tom's Guide, T3, PC Pro, IT Pro, Ideal Home, Livingetc, Stuff, Business Insider, theBit, Wareable, and Trusted Reviews. Alan now covers a range of subjects for ReviewsFire, with a focus on news - his unique style of covering technology news is a key part of ReviewsFire's success.

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