Last week, MacRumors reported that beginning with iPadOS 16, the iPad would no longer be able to serve as a hub for your HomeKit accessories. MacRumors’ story was based on strings found in the iPadOS beta and was picked up by other websites, including The Verge.
However, it seems that’s not quite right. According to Apple spokesperson Catherine Franklin who contacted The Verge, the iPad will retain its current ability to operate as a home hub, but won’t be compatible with the Home app’s upcoming new architecture. That’s a shame, but at least users who rely solely on an iPad as their home hub won’t lose the features they currently have.
Alongside these releases, the Home app will introduce a new architecture for an even more efficient and reliable experience. Because iPad will not be supported as a home hub with the new architecture, users who rely on iPad for that purpose do not need to update the Home architecture and can continue enjoying all existing features.
Franklin also said that the upgrade to the Home app’s new architecture will be available in the app’s settings in a later iPadOS 16 update. No details on the new architecture were provided, although, during the WWDC keynote, a presenter mentioned that it is more efficient and reliable, allowing the Home app to handle many more accessories than before.
One aspect of what is going on with the Home app’s mysterious new architecture is undoubtedly the upcoming Matter standard. Matter, which incorporates Thread’s mesh network protocol to improve device connectivity and support over 250 devices at once, is slated to be released this fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple is building functionality on top of Matter for HomeKit devices too, but whether that’s the case and what it might entail remains to be seen.