It’s approaching. The release of the iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 developer betas today confirms that “Matter Accessories” are coming to Apple iPhones and iPads. In addition, Google’s Google Home Developer Console, which allows developers to add Matter devices to the company’s smart home platform, went online today.
Matter is a new smart home connection standard that promises to integrate all of your connected devices, making it simpler for your smart thermostat to communicate with your linked door lock, and for you to communicate with either using whatever voice assistant or smart home app you like. Apple stated this year’s WWDC that iOS 16 will enable Matter, and now we’re seeing the first implementations.
On both the iPad and iPhone running the beta, a new options menu has surfaced under Settings > General. It mentions “Matter Accessories” and, when you touch it, sends you to a list of Matter accessories that have been added to “a linked service,” as discovered by Aaron Zollo.
Only, since the Matter standard has not yet been completed, there are no Matter-compatible accessories. However, this is a definite hint that developers and manufacturers are testing prerelease software ahead of Matter’s expected to release this autumn.
We saw several beta Matter gadgets in operation earlier this month at the IFA tech expo. Eve Systems demonstrated a smart plug that can be managed by Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings.
That demonstration emphasized one of Matter’s fundamental capabilities, multi-admin control, which has been hinted at both the iOS and iPadOS betas. This enables devices to have different masters, so you may ask Siri to turn down your Nest thermostat or have your Amazon smart plug controlled by a Google Nest Hub.
Apple has been a founding member of Matter, along with Google, Samsung, and Amazon, from its inception. All three smartphone manufacturers have announced publicly that their smartphones and tablets will be Matter controllers, which means they will be able to connect Matter products to your smart home network.
Some screenshots that have also leaked today suggest that Google is well on its way to including a Matter Accessories area into its operating system. According to Android Police, a Matter Devices & Services section has emerged in certain users’ Google account settings, with a request to connect a new Matter device and the option to display a notice when Matter devices are nearby. This hints at another important aspect of Matter: a more simplified, standardized setup for smart home devices.
Despite several earlier delays, all of this action suggests that Matter will meet its target of an autumn debut.