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 serve as a home hub when the update arrives this fall.
When setting up an Apple-based smart home, you can pick a central hub that will remain in the home at all times: this will receive commands, send out notifications, control automations and generally tell the other components what to do. In the past, the hub could be an Apple TV, a HomePod, or an iPad, but as of the launch of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 this fall, only the HomePod and Apple TV will work.
What was first spotted in the iOS footnotes by Tech Crtr on Twitter has now been confirmed by Macrumors, which uncovered the following message in the latest iOS 16 developer beta:
A home hub is required to take advantage of features like receiving accessory notifications and allowing other people to control your home. You will not be able to view shared homes until those homes are also upgraded to the latest HomeKit. iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub.
This change isn’t all that surprising. The iPad was always been an odd inclusion since it needed to be plugged in to actually work as a hub. Absent-mindedly slinging your iPad in a bag and taking it on the train could lead to automations failing to execute and your family being inconvenienced by having to turn on the lights manually–or worse, depending on how deep your smart home integration goes.
So now it’s Apple TV or HomePod only, which are both devices for the living room. Apple hasn’t exactly set the smart home world on fire, but perhaps this is a sign that Apple is looking to make some serious changes to the way things operate. Rumors have been swirling about a new HomePod with a screen and a cheaper Apple TV are on the way, so this small change could lead to much bigger things.