There is a catch to using the iPad as a HomeKit hub, though.
iPad owners have had the ability to utilize their tablets as HomeKit Hubs since the release of HomeKit, Apple’s smart home platform, enabling their smart home devices to connect to the cloud. Code snippets in the iPadOS 16 beta appeared to suggest that this feature will be removed in the final release of Apple’s mobile operating system, forcing HomeKit users to use a HomePod mini or an Apple TV as a smart home hub in its place.
Apple representative Catherine Franklin told The Verge that “iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will continue to support iPad as a home hub with no reduction in functionality” (opens in new tab).
However, she continued, “Users who rely on iPad for that purpose do not need to update the Home architecture and may continue enjoying all existing capabilities because iPad will not be supported as a home hub with the new design.”
The Home app serves as the control panel for all HomeKit-enabled smart home appliances. Despite the fact that there are much less HomeKit-compatible devices than there should be (this may change with the release of Matter later this year), users can still design very sophisticated smart home routines with HomeKit.
The updated Home app was unveiled by Apple as part of the iOS 16 preview at WWDC. The app has been changed to be more effective and quick in addition to receiving a new look. Additionally, it will support Matter, a program that should be made accessible this fall in a later update.
The new Home app will still let you use your iPad to handle smart home appliances, but it won’t serve as a connection between those appliances and the Internet anymore. You must purchase an Apple TV, Apple TV 4K, or HomePod mini in order to do this. Or perhaps you could hold off until the HomePod 2, which is also expected to debut in the latter part of this year or early in 2019.