Apple released tvOS 14.5 to developers on Tuesday, and the update includes some interesting changes for the Apple TV streaming box.
First, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser reports that in the latest beta of tvOS 14.5, references to the “Siri Remote,” the hardware input device that comes with the Apple TV, have been replaced with “Apple TV Remote.” Additionally, Apple no longer refers to the “Home Button,” instead calling it the “TV Button.”
This could be Apple simply cleaning up its language so it’s more appropriate to the situation, as in some countries Siri functionality isn’t available. But Apple also likes to make such changes when new hardware is coming, and there have been rumors that new Apple TV hardware could be available this year. The Apple TV 4K was originally released in September 2017, and the Apple TV HD made its debut two years earlier.
Furthermore, Moser has also found FaceTime and iMessage frameworks in the code as well as a new AVFCapture framework related to capturing images. That could mean a HomePod with a microphone, speaker, and camera are on the way, or one with the potential to tap into third-party cameras. The current tvOS only supports FaceTime via AirPlay streaming.
Moser has a Twitter thread that points out other changes in tvOS 14.5, including a “Type to Siri” feature, support for “Other Wireless Speakers,” and a redesigned Podcasts section. Other features that have been revealed in earlier betas of tvOS 14.5 include support for the latest PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X controllers and a change of the refresh rates settings from 30Hz and 60Hz to the more specific 29.97Hz and 59.94Hz.
It’s possible some of these references are related to HomePod, as the two devices share a common OS. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently reported that Apple was developing a new HomePod with displays and cameras to take on the Echo Show and Google Nest Hub devices.
A new Apple TV is rumored to arrive this year, possible as soon as April alongside new iPad Pros, AirPods, and AirTags.