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WWDC 2021: Is Apple planning a ‘homeOS’ (that would also work in the office)?

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As we reach the 11th hour for WWDC speculation comes hints Apple may at last make smarthomes — and by extension, smart offices, warehouses or anything else with smart devices — better with a homeOS to bring the disparate strands of its current strategy together.

‘iOS, watchOS, tvOS and homeOS’

This is what was suggested in a recruitment ad posted to the company’s website, which mentioned a homeOS system for the first time (before the ad was revised to drop the reference).

The original job listing for a Senior iOS Engineer for the Apple Music team (spotted by JotaEle Diaz and Javier Lacort) stated:

“Are you passionate about Music? The Apple Music team is looking for stellar software engineers to create awesome listening experiences for our over 1 billion active users. Our team enjoys a tremendous impact — we are one of the first applications on every new Apple platform, and our app is often featured in Keynotes and in marketing materials. The experiences you enable are sure to be tweeted and blogged about all over the internet. You’ll get to work with system engineers across Apple, learning the inner-workings of iOS, watchOS, tvOS and homeOS, and optimizing your code for performance in ways only Apple can. Come join our team and make a real difference for music lovers worldwide.”

The homeOS reference was changed to HomePod after the ad drew attention from Apple watchers online. But its initial inclusion opened the door for speculation about what the company might have in mind for next week’s event.

Why does Apple need a homeOS?

Apple’s existing approach to the smart home has evolved over time and now seems a little ad hoc. It consists of multiple complementary solutions Apple attempts to combine within the somewhat opaque Home app.

The strategy relies on services like Apple Music, products such as Apple TV or HomePod, third-party smart devices and technologies, such as UWB or the recently christened Matter interconnect standard, to sew all the strands together.

The overall effect is smart, but not super smart. 

What Apple has found is that these disparate devices also present disparate user experiences. So while it is becoming easier to put smart devices in your home, the home hasn’t yet become especially smart.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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