Matter, the Apple-backed smart home standard that aims to revolutionize how people interact with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem and beyond, has unveiled version 1.2 of its program — which brings robot vacuums and more to your Apple Home.
The new standard was unveiled Oct. 23 and features nine new device types, including refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners and other appliances, as well as improvements to existing categories and the overall specification.
For the uninitiated, Matter is a smart home connectivity standard that will link nearly every smart home device on the market, including Apple HomeKit devices, but extending to devices that previously weren’t compatible with HomeKit, such as Alexa-powered speakers and more.
Version 1.2 adds nine new device types to the existing standard, which supported light bulbs and door locks but little else; now you can add laundry washers, robotic vacuums, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, air quality sensors, air purifiers, and fans to the list. The update also improves existing offerings including latch and bolt door locks.
Why does Matter matter?
For Apple users and HomeKit enthusiasts, this is great news. Matter simplifies your HomeKit ecosystem so that you can add almost any smart home accessory to your existing setup, even if it doesn’t necessarily support HomeKit. As long as it supports Matter, you’ll be fine. This means that with 1.2, you’ll be able to control Matter-enabled dishwashers and other large appliances directly from your iPhone and the Apple Home app. You’ll also be able to talk to them using Siri and add them to existing automations and schedules.
It’s also a big win for robot vacuum owners who’ll be able to control their trusty cleaning companions from their iPhones alongside all their other smart home devices.
Matter also means that if you want to start building a smart home from scratch, you don’t have to choose between HomeKit or any rival ecosystem. Rather than be locked into one forever, you can simply choose the products that work best for you without fear that they won’t be compatible. One company on board with Matter told us that Matter is to the smart home what Bluetooth is to headphones, and that sums it up well.
When it comes to larger appliances, early utility will be quite limited. For example, you’ll be able to start and stop your dishwasher or Robovac, check the temperature in your fridge, and get notifications from smoke and CO alarms directly within the Apple Home app. We’ll need to wait for manufacturers to add Matter support to new or existing products, but the list of products that work with Matter is growing at a rate of knots.