Apple announced a brand new Home app for its HomeKit smart home platform this week during WWDC. The new app will arrive with iOS 16 later this year and has a brand new design. Apple said the app’s architecture was rebuilt from the ground up, making it more efficient and reliable, especially for homes with multiple accessories.
Navigation has also been redesigned to make it easier to find, organize and control devices, and a new Categories section for Climate, Lights, Speakers and TVs, Water (Sprinklers and Faucets) and security will allow you to access these devices in one place. This should make it easier to turn off all the lights or lock all the doors, even if they’re in different rooms.
You can now see your entire house in the Home tab, where Rooms now joins your Favorites on the main screen. A new multi-camera view will show four security cameras on the main Home tab, with more available when you scroll sideways. This horizontal action will make it easier for you to get to what you want rather than having to scroll through numerous props and multiple camera views.
Accessory tiles also get an overhaul to use shape and color to indicate the status of each device. And you will be able to control them directly via the icon, with detailed control obtained by tapping on the name of the accessory.
There are new HomeKit lock screen widgets to help you access your accessories faster and see the status of devices.
Apple also hailed Matter, the new Matter smart home connectivity standard that allows devices to work together across platforms. Matter is expected to launch later this year, likely around the same time iOS 16 drops. Apple said the new operating system will bring support for the standard to the Home app.
During the keynote, Corey Wang said that Apple contributed HomeKit as the “foundation of this new normal” and that Matter supports some of HomeKit’s core principles, including the highest levels of security and privacy. . She also explained how Matter will help HomeKit users integrate more categories of devices into their smart homes, allowing them to choose from more compatible smart home accessories and control them with the Home app and using Siri. To date, HomeKit has missed out on a number of categories in the smart home, including robot vacuums and pet feeders.
iOS 16 will be available to developers in preview starting today, with a public beta next month, and the full version coming this fall. It will be supported on iPhone 8 and later versions of iPad (5th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), and all iPad Pro models.