Apple integrates Matter in iOS 16

At its developer conference WWDC 22, Apple announced support for the smart home standard Matter with iOS 16. Originally, there was already talk of this last year: During WWDC 21, Apple had held out the prospect of the launch with iOS 15. However, due to the repeated delay of Matter, it is now likely to be the next version of the iPhone operating system.

iOS 16: a new Home app on Apple devices

In general, Matter remains a marginal phenomenon at this year’s WWDC. Corey Wang, Producer Human Interface, briefly touched on the standard during the opening keynote (picture above), but then quickly moved on to another topic: iOS 16 is getting a new Home app. Apple will completely revamp its control program for the smart home in the next generation of the operating system.

Apple’s retread of the Home app on Mac, iPad and iPhone. Image: Apple

The innovations include a category view that displays lights, thermostats, security products and so on sorted by room. The products can have tiles of different sizes, which improves clarity. In addition, the app should be able to manage and operate significantly more devices without performance problems. Most importantly, it shows how Apple sees the role of Matter: as a connectivity technology that brings new and hopefully more products into the in-house HomeKit ecosystem. Users should notice as little of this as possible, but instead devote themselves entirely to the possibilities of the operating software.

Is a homeOS coming after all?

The fact that Matter does not play a role in the developer sessions at WWDC 22 is striking and differs from Google’s most recent event, which dedicated several presentations to the standard. But perhaps there is a reason why Apple so conspicuously omits the topic of smart home.

Rumors about an operating system for home control received new food when the term “homeOS” recently appeared in a job posting from the company. Apple quickly replaced it with the innocuous “HomePod”. However, there are indications that there could be a third iOS offshoot alongside watchOS and tvOS. Since the end of the big HomePod, there has been a gap in the lineup and there is still no Home app available on Apple TV.

Perhaps the iPhone inventor will use the launch of Matter in the fall to present new software and hardware for the smart home. It would be a good opportunity.

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