Apple this year introduced the second generation HomePod, two years after discontinuing the first generation of its full-size smart speaker. Since then, there have been rumors about Apple developing many HomePod prototypes, some of them with an LCD display. Photos of one of these prototypes have now surfaced on the web, and we can confirm that these photos are from a real prototype.
Images show HomePod prototype with LCD display
The Apple prototype collector known as Kosutami shared images of components from an unreleased HomePod this morning, and interestingly, there’s a large touch screen sensor at the top, with a much larger area than the current HomePod panel. Then Kosutami shared a photo of a prototype HomePod that has a fully functional LCD display on top.
The images are quite intriguing, especially as there aren’t many details about them other than Kosutami saying that the design of these leaked HomePods is more similar to the second generation than the discontinued first generation.
9to5Mac was able to verify the legitimacy of these images with our own sources, and we learned more details about this HomePod with an LCD display. Codenamed B720, this prototype is being actively worked on by Apple, which confirms that we’re talking about a new product, and not something that the company has experimented with in the past.
Although Apple hasn’t yet decided when (or if) this HomePod will see the light of day, B720 is an advanced-stage prototype, which suggests that it’s something the company plans to introduce in the near future.
Here’s what we know
To take advantage of the new HomePod display, Apple has been rewriting some of the tvOS apps so that they can run on different display formats, something that wouldn’t be necessary today since pretty much all TVs have the same aspect ratio. It’s worth noting that HomePod runs a modified version of tvOS without a user interface.
There’s evidence in the tvOS 17 code that Apple Music and Apple Podcasts are the first apps being rewritten to be compatible with a new display format. The LcdUTest app shown in the image shared by Kosutami is an internal app used by engineers to test the new display.
It’s still too early to know what the interface will look like, but 9to5Mac has learned that the HomePod display will show a blurred animation based on the colors of the album art when a song or podcast is playing. There are also hints that it will show some important notifications, potentially to answer phone calls and reply to messages.
Again, this HomePod is a prototype and could be scrapped at any time, but it does seem like a potential candidate to become the next generation HomePod, whenever Apple decides to update it.
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