Apple confirms the iPad will work as a home hub when iOS 16 launches, but not with the new architecture

During the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple confirmed that it is putting some major effort into the Home app. That means a brand new experience, one that’s more streamlined and easier to use with more accessories in your home. But there’s been some confusion regarding home hub support.

Apple's redesigned Home app in iPadOS 16 is showcased on an iPad Pro in this featured image from iDownloadBlog

Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple would be removing the iPad lineup as a home hub once iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 launched later this year. That obviously ruffled some feathers, because the iPad, along with its Home app, is a pretty great Home hub to control a range of devices. But apparently with the new software updates, these touchscreen devices won’t be supported.

And that is technically accurate. But so is the fact that the iPad will still support being a home hub once iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 launch later this year. There’s just a pretty big catch, as reported by The Verge.

The iPad won’t be losing any support for things it can do right now, even when iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 arrive. This means it won’t lose any functionality — compared to the current experience. The catch is that the iPad lineup will not support the brand new architecture Apple is rolling out along with the iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates this year.

The spokesperson said:

iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will continue to support iPad as a home hub with no loss in functionality.

And added:

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.

So, with the new architecture, the iPad will not be supported as a home hub. So, for folks who use Apple’s tablet as one, they’ll need to not update to the new architecture when it launches.

The update to the new architecture will be available via the Home app, but it sounds like users will have the chance to not upgrade to that new architecture if they don’t want to. But they will be able to use the new Home app when Apple rolls out that update later this year. They’ll retain the old functionality (what’s current right now), and won’t gain support for the new architecture.

As for what that new architecture is, Apple hasn’t come right out and said what it is. But it’s probably Matter, which Apple will officially support with its upcoming software updates. And on the official iOS 16 Preview page, Apple confirms that Matter support is only available with the Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, HomePod, and HomePod mini.

So it sounds like folks who use an iPad as their home hub will need to make a decision once iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 launch later this year.