Your iPad will get weird with smart home support on iPadOS 16

It's not getting the new architecture Apple promised during WWDC, but it'll still let you control (most of) your HomeKit devices.

There’s been a lot of chatter surrounding the Home app on iPadOS 16. During WWDC, Apple announced a redesigned version of the app that’s coming in the new update for iPads as well as iOS 16, and it’ll offer a new architecture for better performance and Matter support to expand compatibility to more accessories. However, at least on the iPad, all of those promises are more or less misleading.

I honestly couldn’t tell you why, but the new Home app experience on iPadOS 16 won’t be a one-to-one comparison to iOS 16. There was a rumor fueled by text in the iOS 16 beta that iPadOS 16 would make it impossible to use an iPad as a home hub, but Apple confirmed to The Verge that that’s not necessarily true. All of the features currently available on the Home app will remain available with iPadOS 16, but the new architecture won’t be supported, and neither will Matter.

“iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will continue to support iPad as a home hub with no loss in functionality,” Apple spokesperson Catherine Franklin said in a statement to the publication. “Alongside these releases, the Home app will introduce a new architecture for an even more efficient and reliable experience. Because iPad will not be supported as a home hub with the new architecture, users who rely on iPad for that purpose do not need to update the Home architecture and can continue enjoying all existing features.”

Apple saying users “do not need to update the Home architecture” should read users “cannot update the Home architecture,” because that’s what’s going on here. Unlike iOS 16, iPadOS 16 will be sticking with the older foundation Apple developed for the Home app, which will limit its performance and compatibility with HomeKit devices.

The big advantage to the new architecture lies primarily in performance, which is expected to see notable improvements across every smart home device you use. It’ll also integrate Matter support, which means any smart home device you purchase that uses Matter won’t work with your iPad. Apple notes, however, that they will work with Apple TVs and HomePods, two devices the company wants to sell more of as it continues its push into the smart home market.

Down the road, your iPhone will be compatible with the new architecture via an opt-in switch, but the iPad won’t get that luxury. And that’s a little peculiar. With such a large screen, the iPad is a pretty sweet remote control for your smart home. Of course, this could be a ploy to avoid cannibalizing sales of its rumored touchscreen-equipped HomePod which is expected to take on an iPad-like form factor.

Regardless, there’s no debate that the Home app is about to get weird for iPad users. If you want your smart home to be controllable down the road, you’ll wanna start investing in more of Apple’s gadgets.