After months of inaction from Matter's regulator, its home automation specifications have been updated to 1.2, bringing compatibility with nine new types of accessories, including robot vacuums and appliances. Roborock vacuum cleaners could soon work with HomeKit. The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), of which Apple is a member, today boasts of major improvements not only to the standard, but also to its adoption rate among businesses and consumers. It saw the Matter specification downloaded more than 24,600 times, 1,214 devices certified, and a 24% increase in the number of participating companies. They have also added a new Alliance Interoperability Test Facility to ensure devices work together correctly. While Matter 1.1 brought stability and other improvements in April, version 1.2 brings many new device types, finally realizing the reality of added new functionality for HomeKit users.
New devices for Matter Nine new devices are being added to Matter 1.2, some of which are an extension of existing support, while others are entirely new. The new types of appliances are:
There are varying degrees of control for these accessories. For example, air conditioners were already part of Matter, but now they have added support for standalone room units. Refrigerators offer support for temperature control but also bake in freezers, wine, or kimchi refrigerators under the same umbrella. Washing machines can provide cycle completion notifications, but dryers are not yet supported. They will appear in an upcoming update. Once again, fans were already supported with Matter. Matter 1.2 unlocks functionality for standalone units, plus new modes like sleep and movements like oscillation. Robotic smart home vacuums are perhaps the biggest choice for HomeKit users. Through the Home app or other Matter-compatible platform, users can change cleaning mode (vacuum vs. mop), view errors, and check charging status.
Unlike Matter's original release, this new release has huge implications for Apple Home users. Many of these are new device types that Apple has never supported, and some existing devices are getting new functionality, such as standalone fans.
More improvements for users Other improvements for Matter 1.2 include improvements for European door locks such as latch and bolt models, device views in the different apps, and more. The CSA also touts that the Matter 1.2 SDK is available on more platforms, simplifying development and making improvements to the Test Harness, which is now available via open source to help developers contribute to the Matter tools. Next year, the CSA says Matter should receive two updates, maintaining the biannual cadence. The 2024 updates should include more new device types and "expand into new areas."
Coming soon to your devices Although the Matter specification has been released, it will still be a while before you can start using it. We first have to wait for Apple to support Matter 1.2 through the Home app and then for device manufacturers to support it on their devices. Some devices may be able to be updated via new firmware, while others will be completely new to the market. We expect to see a lot more about new Matter accessories at CES 2024 in January.
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