The new HomeKit architecture means the iPad can't work as a homehub - which device should I buy?

Cupertino, November 20, 2023

I added a Lutron smart bridge to my home and that started an avalanche of upgrades and problems. Now it looks like I have to buy new Apple hardware and I don't know what. I only had one Lutron device, but no smart bridge. I bought a second Lutron device and added a smart bridge. The goal was for my wife and I to be able to turn the lights on and off on our phones without having to get off the couch. When I installed the smart bridge, I added HomeKit integration and didn't think twice when Home asked if I wanted to upgrade to the new architecture. Of course yes. It warned me that all my devices would need to upgrade, but I went along with it. Upgrade my phone. I upgraded my wife's phone. I updated my iPad, which was running as a Home Hub. Now I'm learning that with the new HomeKit smart architecture, the iPad is no longer supported as a home hub. Without a home hub, I can't get the light widgets to appear on my wife's phone because I can't invite her from anywhere but the home hub devices. So now I have to buy a new piece of Apple hardware so I can control two Lutron devices from our phones on our phones quick screen. I am trying to determine what this device should be. \--HomePod: $299 with a $50 Apple GC, not really interested in spending that kind of money on a smart speaker. I have a Sonos system for music in the house. HomePod mini- $99 Apple TV 4K Wireless: $129 with a $50 Apple GC. No support for wires, but it ends up being cheaper than a HomePod mini. My TV no longer has HDMI ports and I am happy with the Roku front end built into the TV. Apple TV would work headless, for all intents and purposes. Wired Apple TV: $149, with a $50 Apple GCS. Same a/v issues as above but this one has wired support. It would effectively be "the same cost" as a HomePod mini. \--I have an Eero pro network, which is a threaded border router - this leads me to believe that I don't need the threaded support as offered on the wired Apple TV anyway - but all the documentation on what is/isn't required is really vague. I don't even have thread rigs right now, but I'd like to be prepared. The "set up a home hub" document throws me into a loop of "here's how to make your iPad a home hub" and "you can't use your iPad as a home hub with the new trust architecture". So: What would be the best thing to buy to be able to just turn the Caseta lights on and off from my phone and be positioned for future wires if all I have is a couple of Caseta light switches and an Eero router (which is a wire edge router)

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