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HomePod with big touchscreen likely isn't coming in 2024

An artist's rendition of a HomePod with a display

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There have been rumors since 2020 about a HomePod with an integral screen, but a new report claims that it's not coming soon.

Apple is rumored to have some kind of release in March, likely with new iPads. However, Apple faithful expecting to see a HomePod with a large scree are likely to be disappointed.

In a newsletter for Bloomberg's on Sunday morning, Mark Gurman's latest supply chain checks suggest that while the product is in the investigative and engineering phases, a 2024 release is unlikely.

The report goes on to suggest that an iPad supplier in China — BYD — is helping Apple with the concept and design.

HomePod with screen rumors have been going on for some time

The rumors of a HomePod with a touchscreen like an iPad attached have been circulating since almost as long as the HomePod has been available. They've fired up again more recently, with suggestions in code that the product was advancing.

In code references spotted in mid-February, the tvOS 17.4 developer beta 3 issued by Apple on Tuesday refers to a new device by the name "Z314."

The unreleased item is capable of running tvOS, which both Apple TV hardware and HomePods effectively use. However, the HomePod version is designed to not include a user interface, due to a lack of screen.

As part of the beta, the HomePod firmware gains SwiftUI frameworks, as well as the hangtracerd tool for UI debugging in iOS apps. It seems unusual for Apple to include that functionality unless it was preparing a HomePod that could use it.

The Z314 shown in code is said to be running an A15 Bionic chip, and with internal and production versions apparently being tested. It is thought that this is an indicator the speaker could be in a late stage of development.

The screen-enabled HomePod is thought to be similar in concept to others produced by rival smart speaker producers, and could offer consumers similar functionality. As well as giving visual control over functions, the display could potentially play media back to users, access to smart home functions via the Home app, or even handle FaceTime calls if it includes a camera.

Apple has also considered a HomePod with a small touchscreen, with a prototype from late 2023 claimed to be an actively-worked-on inbound product rather than a cast-off prototype.