The first iOS 16 beta hints that Apple is working on a new HomePod. The device, called “AudioAccessory6” internally, was found in code by the Apple blog 9to5Mac. Meanwhile, Apple announced that the new version of the HomePod software will be available for the first time as a public beta for anyone interested in the test phase.
The finding of the new HomePod model aligns with recent rumors that Apple could release a new HomePod in Q4 2022 or early 2023. This is what Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst in Taiwan, has predicted. But he warned against too high expectations. This is also indicated by the internal designation. The beta software has not yet revealed any further details.
A new HomePod Mini?
According to 9to5Mac, there is some evidence that it is an evolution of the HomePod Mini, which was internally called “AudioAccessory5”. The discontinued large HomePod was meanwhile called “AudioAccessory1” – quite a few fans of Apple’s first smart speaker are hoping for a sequel. The numbering also speaks against another rumor. In April, Mark Gurman (Bloomberg) reported that Apple was working on a mixture of Apple TV and HomePod with a screen. However, this device would probably be numbered differently.
HomePod Software als Public Beta
On the other hand, Apple’s announcement that beta versions of the upcoming HomePod software will be available to anyone interested for the first time is very specific. This is what Apple announced on the Apple Beta Program website. However, it is unclear exactly what the improved HomePod firmware, which will be released together with iOS 16 and Co. in autumn, can do. Apple has not yet commented on this. The HomePod played no role in the WWDC keynote.
Apple makes beta versions available in three ways: The public beta is the easiest way. In the past, however, Apple usually only provided test versions later in the beta phase so that they were already running more stable. In addition, not every software was released as a public beta. Anyone who is registered with the fee-based developer program can usually test new software versions as soon as they become known. However, Apple expressly warns against using these test versions on productive devices. A third, hidden way is AppleSeed, through which Apple provides trial versions to selected people. As a rule, these are internal testers who can install the new software in this way.
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