MacRumors reports the discovery of FaceTime and iMessage framework in the code of tvOS 14.5 beta. This finding coincides with Bloomberg’s report that Apple is working on equipping future smart speakers with screens and cameras. Apple has been using tvOS as the base software for HomePod, which hints at the feature coming to the smart speaker platform.
FaceTime and iMessage framework discovered in tvOS 14.5 beta code hints at future HomePod models with screens and cameras
It is speculated that the company may be working on features to introduce in the alleged smart speakers with screens and cameras like currently available Nest Hub Max by Google, and Echo Show by Amazon.
Earlier this month, Apple announced the discontinuation of the HomePod speaker. It was reported that the high-end smart speaker model lacked luster and was unable to compete with rival speakers by Google and Amazon. Now, it seems that the company is working on introducing new features to pushing its HomePod mini as a versatile speaker, likely with a screen and camera. MacRumors explains that:
That means features included in tvOS are also included in the HomePod software since they have the same base code. Therefore, the FaceTime, iMessage, and image capture frameworks added to tvOS in tvOS 14.5 could actually be designed for a future HomePod that has a screen and a camera, as described by Gurman.
The HomePod and HomePod mini are able to use FaceTime audio already, but the FaceTime framework discovered in the 14.5 beta is distinct from any code related to the existing audio FaceTime feature. The frameworks are in the tvOS 14.5 beta and the 14.5 HomePod software beta available to select testers.
Having said that, Apple’s smart speakers with a screen and camera are not launching any time soon. Gurman wrote:
It has also been developing new speakers with screens and cameras, but such a launch isn’t imminent. Apple is also working on an update to the Apple TV set-top box. Until that time comes, Apple will likely try to unlock the most functionality from the HomePod mini.