Apple's hiding a secret touchscreen interface in tvOS 18, and it could point to the HomePod I've been waiting for

Apple Music on iPhone beside HomePod mini
(Image credit: Future)

New code uncovered in Apple’s latest tvOS 18 beta has revealed that Apple is hiding a secret touchscreen interface that could point to Apple’s rumored HomePod with a display. 

9to5Mac has revealed that Apple’s new tvOS interface is dubbed “PlasterBoard”, and features “some core interface elements” of a new tvOS interface, replete with support for use with a touchscreen. Such elements include a Lock Screen with a passcode keypad you’d find on iPhone and iPad. 

“Code and how the interface behaves strongly suggest that it was made for touchscreens and not for regular TVs,” the report postulates, noting that there’s currently no option to lock Apple TV with a passcode, a feature that would only make sense for a more personal device.

Touschreen HomePod incoming 

While we can’t guarantee what this tvOS interface points to, both Apple TV and HomePod share the same OS architecture, and given burgeoning rumors of a HomePod featuring a display, the link seems too good to be true. 

Just last week a mysterious Apple ‘Home Accessory’ featuring the iPhone 16’s rumored A18 chip was spotted in Apple’s backend, possibly indicating the device could include support for Apple Intelligence. 

Apple’s HomePod is a tremendous smart speaker, and having owned both generations I wouldn’t be parted with either. However, the prospect of a HomePod that also offers touchscreen capabilities for controlling your smart home, media, or anything else is simply too good to turn down. An A18 chip would give it serious power and could turn Siri into a fully-fledged smart home assistant powered by AI, ready to answer any query. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen leaks of this rumored upcoming HomePod upgrade, the device was also spotted in the tvOS 17.4 beta. Reputable insider Mark Gurman says we shouldn’t expect the device for 2025, however. 

If Apple does have a touchscreen HomePod 3 in the works, I’ll be at the front of the queue on launch day.

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9