The new smart home standard, Matter, is making headlines. We, too, believe that Matter will have a long-term positive impact on the development of Apple Home. At this time, we recommend exercising caution. We explain our reasons in this post.
Back in late 2019, we reported on the ambitious plan of several industry giants to develop a unified smart home standard, initially launched as the “Connected Home over IP” project by the Smart Home Working Group.
Since then, a lot has happened. The standard has been developed, has received the catchier name “Matter,” and, after numerous delays, has finally launched. There are now the first devices on the market, and at this year’s IFA, hardly a smart home manufacturer could be found who wasn’t advertising with the Matter logo.
Issues Matter Aims to Solve
The new Matter standard is expected to benefit both manufacturers and consumers. In the past, manufacturers had to implement and certify each smart home system separately. With Matter, only one implementation and certification are required. A device that supports the smart home standard can seamlessly integrate into all major smart home systems.
For end consumers, this means easier navigation in the current smart home jungle, a variety of products that can all communicate with each other, and the simultaneous use of different smart home systems within one household.
Since the costly and time-consuming certification process with Apple is also eliminated, there will be a significantly larger selection of smart home devices for Apple Home users in the future.
Current Issues with Matter
Even though Matter sounds very promising and will definitely be the right choice for purchasing new devices in the long run, the Austrian company Loxone has summed it up well with the release of their own Matter beta: Since Matter is still in its infancy, productive use is not recommended, as we reported.
At this year’s IFA in Berlin, we observed a similar sentiment. An OEM manufacturer, who produces products for other companies under their brand names, informed us that they are currently advising their own customers against offering Matter devices. Not due to a lack of product quality, but because the standard is still too unreliable at the moment and comes with too many issues.
This aligns with our experiences as well. For example, the same hardware with HomeKit firmware is very reliable for us, while the Matter version is often unreachable.
Furthermore, many Apple Home devices currently lose features after the Matter update. For example, Aqara lacks its security system, Eve Energy loses power consumption measurements in HomeKit, and lamps lose Adaptive Lighting.
If you are offered a Matter update for your existing Apple Home device, it’s best to refrain from it at this time. However, if you are considering purchasing a device that is only available with Matter, not as an Apple Home device, you can go ahead and make the purchase. We believe that the issues can be resolved through updates in the future. It just needs a bit more time.