Apple just can’t catch a break. On Saturday, eagle-eyed developers revealed that the HomePod smart speaker firmware makes reference to two unannounced products: an Apple Watch with cellular connectivity and an Apple TV with the ability to play content at 4K resolution. The leak comes from the same software that revealed the existence of the iPhone 8 last week, alongside a number of its key features.
Ever since the Apple Watch first launched in 2015, fans have been clamouring for cell service so they can ditch the phone and use the watch as a more independent device. The watch currently connects to the internet via wifi, or over Bluetooth if it is within range of a paired iPhone.
Last week, reports emerged that Apple would offer a watch with LTE cellular connectivity later this year, with the device launching alongside the iPhone 8. The Wall Street Journal claims the watch will be rolled into existing monthly plans for a fee, rather than running as a separate bill. Apple blogger John Gruber claimed that the watch will also feature an “all-new form factor.”
Jeffrey Grossman, a New York-based developer, discovered references to an Apple Watch capable of LTE.
The software also makes reference to a new Apple TV, the company’s streaming box that runs a variant of iOS marketed as tvOS. The fourth-generation Apple TV introduced apps when it launched in 2015, but since then the box has yet to receive any hardware updates.
Guilherme Rambo, a Brazil-based developer, discovered references to an Apple TV capable of playing 4K resolution content with high dynamic range. The fourth-generation model only supports 1080p.
On the high dynamic range side, Rambo discovered references to both HDR10 and Dolby Vision standards, suggesting both will be supported. These standards cover a wider selection of colors and brightness than regular broadcasts, leading to a dazzling picture that takes advantage of the latest TV screens.
Adding fuel to the rumor fire, MacRumors discovered a reference in the HomePod firmware to a device codenamed “J105a.” In February, Bloomberg reported that Apple was working on a new Apple TV capable of 4K and HDR with the codename “J105,” suggesting the codename in the firmware references the same described product.
Alongside the iPhone 8 leaks, these two new discoveries suggest Apple’s move to launch the HomePod firmware to developers ahead of the speaker’s December launch may not have been the wisest move.