Should Apple introduce a homeOS?

On Monday, Apple kicked off WWDC21 with a keynote. There was a lot of talk about iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and macOS. A lot was also shown, for example the integration of new HomeKit features in the smart home. TvOS was not really named or given a presentation. Although there will be an upgrade of the operating system for the Apple TV in autumn 2021, it was not really addressed. Since the operating system also runs on the HomePod or HomePod mini and Apple is increasingly taking care of smart home applications anyway, the question arises: Should tvOS become homeOS?

Should Apple introduce a homeOS to replace tvOS on the Apple TV 4K and HomePod (mini)? Time for a smart home operating system.
Should Apple introduce a homeOS to replace tvOS on the Apple TV 4K and HomePod (mini)? Time for a smart home operating system.

Apple homeOS instead of tvOS - a logical step in the OS evolution

Spin-offs and renaming of operating systems are not new to Apple. With the Mac, the journey went from “Mac OS” and “Macintosh System Software” to “Mac OS” again to “Mac OS X” and finally to “macOS”. Two years ago Apple also announced the separation of the new iPadOS from iOS in order to be able to give the tablet more or different features than the smartphone. A new or renamed operating system for the home, i.e. a homeOS, would not only be conceivable, but also logical. The idea didn't come from me, but from José Adorno, the at 9to5Mac writes about it. 

In his contribution, José Adorno writes that shortly before the World Wide Developers Conference 2021, Apple published a “mysterious 'homeOS' job posting”. He also cites as an indication that during the keynote on Monday there was hardly any talk about tvOS and new features of Apple TV were only shown in connection with other devices or technologies. "It's almost like Apple forgot that they just updated the Apple TV 4K hardware just last month", he writes. Only at the end of the keynote was tvOS mentioned in a list of the new operating systems. So it remains for another year.

7 features coming to Apple TV 15K with tvOS 4

  • SharePlay: Watch films, series and other content such as streams or videos while being connected to others who are watching the same via FaceTime
  • For All of You: The Apple TV app suggests the kind of content that everyone in a household might like for movie nights together
  • Shared with You: Films and series that have been recommended via news (with a link) are collected in a separate area
  • Spacial Audio: Cinema audio via headphones is possible through the use of AirPods Pro or AirPods Max
  • Smart AirPods Routing: A notification that can be used to pair AirPods detected nearby
  • Extension for HomeKit cameras: Monitor multiple cameras in or on the house at the same time and control smart home devices near the selected camera
  • Room-filling stereo sound: two HomePod mini devices can be used as speakers in front of the television or the screen, for example

That speaks in favor of converting tvOS to homeOS

The Apple TV set-top box could serve as a bridge, which it is basically already doing now. With tvOS 15, there are new functions for camera surveillance and smart home control on the box. In addition, with “Shared with You” you can enjoy content at home that has been recommended to you while you are out and about. So it should invite you to arrive and feel good in the smart home. So I completely understand why José Adorno argues in the direction of homeOS with 9to5Mac. how do you see it? Feel free to leave a comment! 

Here is more information about the content of Apple's WWDC21 keynote:

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3 Responses to “Should Apple introduce a homeOS?”

  1. Beatrice Willius

    A house should last 100 years. How long does a SmartHome like this last before I can dispose of all the components? Who can guarantee me that such a SmartHome will not say “hello, crack me” to the burglar? Why shouldn't I get up to move the shutters or turn on the light?

    After a break-in, we bought a professional alarm system. I can be sure that the system is safe. The components will also be available for a while. Cameras do not prevent break-ins.

    The rest are frills.

    1. Hi Beatrix! Yes, I would be careful with door locks and smart homes. I mean, that's not a problem here in town. How many times have I left the car key in the car and the next morning the car was still there, but if you live in a bigger city, such a door lock would be too tricky for me. : D

    2. How long does the bathroom, kitchen, windows, roof, etc. “last”?

      Our smart home components are now almost 10 years old and do not show any signs of fatigue.
      There are regular updates, and with 19 roller shutters in the house, you spend a good half hour in the morning and in the evening to crank them up or down, or like the neighbors often do, where individual roller shutters are used every week. or not be opened (or worse: closed) for months.
      When the sun is shining, the shutters are raised to the sun protection function, when it is raining and stormy, the awning is retracted, and if it should be a bit darker outside due to the weather, then various lamps turn on when people are present so that you don't notice it inside without the regular room lighting to have to use.
      When I am at home, the house can run other scenarios, such as keeping the shutters in the bedroom closed longer than when I am absent.
      If I leave the house, the status reliably shows me that all doors and windows are in the desired condition. I have an absence simulation and can easily query the status of everything, so to speak, while I'm on the move.
      The heating is regulated according to my presence or absence, and automatically adjusts itself to this if, for example, a party takes place, the windows are open to ventilate, or the sun moves particularly intensively around the house, and thus the affected rooms are not have to be heated so much from the inside.
      When the dryer or washing machine is ready, my house will contact me and let me know, so I save myself the unnecessary trip to the remote laundry room and don't forget that I put laundry in the machine that needs to be treated further.
      If the fridge / freezer is spinning, I receive a warning that the temperature is too high and I can save my food in good time instead of throwing everything away in the event of an undetected defect.
      The external sockets only work when I want them to and do not provide a burglar with the electricity for his power tool.
      The smoke detectors are reliably networked; in the event of an alarm, the shutters on the doors and individual windows go up automatically, and the light switches on to illuminate the escape route.
      The entire system serves as a reliable alarm system, with which I can even prove a burglary afterwards, thanks to the sensors, which happened "without a trace", as unfortunately happens more and more nowadays. The usual "conventional" alarm systems are often equipped with sensors and alarms (which can often be outwitted with manageable effort!), but for cost reasons, in my experience, there is often a lack of recording and longer-term storage of the sensor data to prevent the insurance company from collapsing to be able to prove.
      In addition, if a break-in attempt is detected, the system simply locks the shutters and doors automatically, and alerts me in my absence so that a perpetrator who has already intruded can easily be picked up and a perpetrator who is still working at the window stays outside. I could then open the front door for the police from vacation and use the motion sensors to tell exactly where the perpetrator is in the building.
      The locking system works reliably, and in my absence I don't have to give someone who is authorized to enter, e.g. to empty the mailbox or as a domestic help, a key that they could lose, but they can open the door with their fingerprint at defined times, or I do this remotely.
      If I want, the door opens automatically when I approach, for example if I have my hands full with shopping or if I want to go in quickly in bad weather.
      If you follow a few basic rules of use, the whole thing is practically impossible for an "outsider" to crack.
      In particular, the electronic door lock is much more secure than a conventional one, because it always locks on request and, depending on the configuration, a picking attempt, etc. Relatively safely prevented, while a normal door lock can usually be cracked in under 3 minutes, and those are the top models!
      I open a "normal" closed door in less than 15 seconds with a cut open PET bottle.
      Cameras do indeed "prevent" burglaries, as many perpetrators like to work unnoticed and have enough "no-interference" choices in the neighborhood. In addition, after a burglary, a well-functioning camera system can also help to prove a "traceless" burglary, and the insurance company at least compensates for the damage more easily.

      Personally, I don't think much of a HomeOS as long as eq-3 (as the largest provider of SmartHome components) in Europe is not involved.

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