Apple has posted a second job advert mentioning the mysterious term "homeOS", suggesting that a new operating system is in development.

The new ad, spotted by Swift developer Julian Schiavo and reported by MacRumors, mentions "iOS, watchOS, tvOS and homeOS" separately, so it's unlikely to be an updated branding for tvOS. (The Apple TV could have a future as the hub of a digital home, acting as the focal point for a network of smart lights, locks and cameras.)

A more likely explanation is that homeOS is a new name for the software that runs on the HomePod and HomePod mini. Currently this software is referred to as HomePod OS; switching to the snappier homeOS branding would echo Apple's move from iPhone OS 3 to iOS 4 back in 2010.

A previous advert, posted in June, sought a senior iOS engineer for Apple Music, but went on to mention homeOS.

"You'll get to work with system engineers across Apple," the ad read, "learning the inner workings of iOS, watchOS, tvOS and homeOS... The Apple Music Frameworks team owns the technology stack that enables the system-integrated Apple Music experience on all of our mobile platforms: iOS, watchOS, and homeOS."

MacRumors reported on the ad at the time, but it's interesting to note that, while it remains live on Apple's site, there are no longer any explicit mentions of homeOS. The new ad, meanwhile, appears to be offline at time of writing. Were these mentions an error, or a calculated leak intended to tantalise the rumour mill?

Apple isn't expected to launch any more products until the spring, so expect to be waiting a while before we know what homeOS will be used for.

This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation (using DeepL) and additional reporting by David Price.