Earlier today, there was a report circling that said Apple is developing new HomePod smart speakers. And not just a replacement for the original HomePod that Apple has discontinued. No, these devices will reportedly feature screens and cameras in some capacity.
And now, to add a feather to that particular cap, there’s a new detail being circulated today. According to Steve Moser (via MacRumors), an iOS developer, who recently took a look-see through the tvOS 14.5 beta code, Apple is adding some important frameworks that could suggest some new feature support coming down the pipe. Specifically, Apple has added frameworks for both iMessage and FaceTime into that beta code.
What’s more, Apple has also added AVFCapture framework, which directly relates to capturing images.
Now, if you’ll recall Apple made an important change to the HomePod (and for the HomePod mini, too). Originally based on iOS, the smart speaker transitioned to tvOS in early 2020. While it’s still technically based on iOS, the transition is important because it means the HomePod can support different APIs designed specifically for tvOS, rather than iOS.
With that being said, the addition of frameworks that support FaceTime and iMessage could suggest that Apple is building towards a future where an unannounced smart speaker, probably with the HomePod branding, supports both iMessage and FaceTime in new ways. That would come in handy with a HomePod that features a screen and a camera, for instance.
It’s worth noting that the new framework discovered now is different than what the HomePod and HomePod mini already support for public owners of the devices. Each smart speaker already supports FaceTime Audio, but these new frameworks is distinct, suggesting broader support at a later date.
Finally, that original report telling us that new HomePods with screens and cameras are on the way also told us that the new smart speakers are not “imminent”, so we still have some time before Apple gets around to announcing anything. Still, it’s exciting to see Apple isn’t quite giving up on the idea of a smart speaker just yet. Even if it did sacrifice the HomePod proper to get here.