Apple may be bringing a new Home app to iOS 16, but it’s not all good news: Apple has confirmed that the iPad will no longer be able to function as a Home Hub when the update arrives this fall.
When setting up an Apple-based smart home, you can choose a central hub that will be in the home at all times: it will receive commands, send notifications, control automation, and generally tell other components what to do. In the past, the Hub could have been an Apple TV, HomePod or iPad, but as the launch of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 this fall, only the HomePod and Apple TV will work.
What was first seen in iOS footnotes Tech Crtr Twitter has now been confirmed by Macrumors, who revealed the following message in the latest iOS 16 developer beta:
The Home Hub is required to take advantage of features such as receiving accessory notifications and allowing other people to control your home. You won’t be able to see shared homes until those homes have also been upgraded to the latest HomeKit. iPad will no longer be supported as a Home Hub.
This change is not so surprising. The iPad had always been an odd inclusion because it actually needed to be plugged in to function as a hub. Unintentionally carrying your iPad in a bag on a train can cause automation to fail and your family to be inconvenient from having to manually turn on the lights – or worse, depending on whether your How deep is smart home integration.
So now it’s just the Apple TV or HomePod, both of which are devices for the living room. Apple hasn’t set the smart home world on fire, but it’s probably a sign that Apple is looking to make some serious changes to the way things operate. Rumors are swirling about a new HomePod with a screen and a cheaper Apple TV on the way, so this small change could lead to huge things.