WWDC is finally upon us and as hoped, amongst the plethora of updates and new features announced for all the devices across Apple ecosystem of products and services, a major HomeKit update has been announced.
A wholly redesigned Home app; Unlike the current home app, where Scenes & sensors are located at the top, and cameras shown at the bottom, with regular sized tiles to represent individual devices, now all sections can be moved to preferred locations on the screen. Not only that, just as is the case with Widgets on your iPhone Home Screen, where you can set different sized tiles, you can now do the same with individual HomeKit devices.
Furthermore, when it comes to cameras and their snapshots, instead of individual screens, you can combine four feeds together in one larger widget.
Some of the companies that will be providing Matter compatible devices
The section on HomeKit, which was in many way fairly perfunctory, started by reiterating the main talking points of Matter – the forthcoming Smart Home standard – that were pretty much covered last year.
This would suggest that any larger changes to the HomeKit landscape will only come once Matter starts rolling out. Without doubt though, there are certainly going to be more changes within the new HomeKit app, if the new icons spotted in the short presentation are anything to go by. This is also the case with possible separately themed screens within the app, like Security.
When it comes to tabs on the bottom of the screen, the Rooms tabs seems to have been removed, leaving only Home, Automations, and the less than popular ‘Discover’ tab. This may be less of a surprise than initially felt, as the rooms in your smart home are already accessible via the sidebar, which we’ll assume is being kept, even if it’s on a new location, as well as Rooms being added to the Favourites screen in their own section.
Whilst we’ve yet to learn more on the inner details surrounding what’s new in HomeKit in ios16, it would also appear that iPads will no longer be able to act as Home Hubs. This is not a bad move at all, as I’ve always felt that whilst it offers an opportunity for new HomeKit users to quickly get up and running with HomeKit and automations, realistically, if these same iPads are in use by any of the family, and taken out of the home, or just turned off, your HomeKit home would soon grind to a halt in some ways, given that new users may not realise the iPad needs to be always on and tethered to your home network permanently.
We’ll be adding to this article as further developments are announced.