An Apple HomeKit home hub: Exploring the available options and expert recommendations

Cupertino, August 22, 2023

Apple's HomeKit has gained popularity among smart home enthusiasts, especially those who prefer using Apple devices. However, choosing a hub for your HomeKit can be a bit confusing. Let's explore the different options available and discuss the best choice for you.

When setting up an Apple HomeKit home hub, you have three options: HomePod, Apple TV, and iPad. However, not all of these options are equally good, and Apple seems to be losing interest in using the iPad as a home hub. Nonetheless, we will outline all the options available for setting up your smart home with an Apple HomeKit hub. But before we dive into that, let's understand what a HomeKit home hub is and why you need one.

A HomeKit home hub acts as a bridge between your smart devices and allows you to control them even when you are away from home. With a hub, you can perform tasks remotely, such as locking your smart lock from a distance or preheating your thermostat before arriving home. It also enables you to share access to your smart home control with others and automate functions. In short, a home hub is essential for maximizing the potential of your smart home.

Now, let's explore the available options for an Apple HomeKit home hub. Apple only allows specific devices to be used as HomeKit home hubs, and currently, there are no third-party options. You have three choices, but one has a significant drawback. However, you can have multiple hubs to enjoy the benefits of each and have a backup connection if one fails. Here are the options:

1. Apple HomePod: The HomePod is the recommended option for an Apple HomeKit home hub. It is low-power, always-on, and equipped with Siri for convenient voice control. If you are satisfied with the audio quality of the $99 HomePod Mini, it is the most affordable choice. Alternatively, you can opt for the $299 HomePod 2 for better audio quality. The only downside is compatibility issues if you already have Nest Audio or Amazon Echo speakers in your home.

2. Apple TV: If the HomePod doesn't appeal to you, Apple TV is your next best option. It not only provides excellent streaming performance but has had HomeKit home hub functionality since 2012. It is usually located in a central spot near your TV, maximizing its reach. Apple TV offers two advantages over HomePod: it can display feeds from compatible connected cameras, and some models have an Ethernet port for a more reliable wired connection. The only downside is that you have to press a button on the remote to activate Siri for voice control. It's crucial to check for compatibility, as some older models may not support all features.

3. Apple iPad: The iPad is the most flexible option, given its portability and versatility. If you already own an iPad, using it as a home hub might seem convenient. However, it has a drawback in terms of performance compared to the other options. Although Apple initially seemed less enthusiastic about using the iPad as a home hub, they clarified that it will continue to be supported with no loss of functionality. However, the iPad's reliance on its battery and the need to connect it to a charger if it runs out makes it less ideal. Unless you already have an iPad and want to make use of it, it may not be the best way to integrate a HomeKit home hub into your setup.

Choosing the best option depends on your specific needs. The HomePod is cost-effective and offers easy voice control, while Apple TV provides the reliability of Ethernet and the ability to display camera feeds. If you already have an iPad, it might work for you, but it lacks the performance of the other options. It's also worth considering having multiple hubs to enjoy the advantages of each and have a backup connection.

In conclusion, combining two or three of these options will give you the best experience for your smart home powered by Apple HomeKit.

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