Apple may bring a new home app to iOS 16, but that’s not all good news: Apple has confirmed that the iPad will no longer be able to function as a home hub after this update.
When setting up an Apple-based smart home, you can choose a central hub that will always be at home: it will receive commands, send notifications, control automation, and usually tell other elements what to do. In the past, the Hub could be an Apple TV, a HomePod, or an iPad, but with the launch of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 this fall, only the HomePod and Apple TV will work.
The first key was seen in the iOS footnotes Tech CRTR Twitter is now confirmed by Macrumors, which unveiled the following message in the latest iOS 16 developer beta:
A home hub is needed to take advantage of features such as receiving ancillary notifications and allowing other people to control your home. You will not see shared homes until those homes have been upgraded to the latest HomeKit. The iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub.
This change is not at all surprising. The iPad has always been a weird inclusion because it actually needs to be plugged in to act as a hub. Missing the automation of carrying your iPad in a bag on a train may fail to work, and your family may have difficulty manually turning on the lights – or worse, depending on how deep your smart home integration goes.
So now it’s just Apple TV or HomePod, both devices for the living room. Apple hasn’t just set the smart home world on fire, but it’s probably a sign that Apple wants to make some serious changes to the way things are handled. Rumors are rife about a new homepod with a screen and a cheaper Apple TV is coming, so this small change could lead to something much bigger.