After months with nothing from Matter’s regulatory body, the home automation spec has been updated to 1.2, bringing compatibility with nine new accessory types including robot vacuum cleaners and appliances.
The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), of which Apple is a member, is bragging today about big improvements not just to the standard, but the rate of adoption among companies and consumers.
It saw the Matter spec downloaded more than 24,600 times, 1,214 devices certified, and an increase of 24% in the number of participating companies. They’ve also added a new Alliance Interoperability Test Facility to help ensures devices work together correctly.
While Matter 1.1 in April brought stability and other improvements, version 1.2 brings many new device types, finally delivering on the reality of added new functionality for HomeKit users.
New devices for Matter
There are nine new devices being added to Matter 1.2, some of which are expanded from existing support while others are wholly new.
The new devices types are:
- Robot vacuum cleaners
- Air conditioners
- Launder machines
- Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- Air Quality Sensors
- Air purifiers
There is varying degrees of control for these accessories. Air conditioners, for example, were already part of Matter but now they’ve added support for standalone room units.
Refrigerators have support for temperature control but it also bakes in deep freezers, wine, or kimchi fridges too under the same umbrella.
Washing machines can show you cycle complete notifications but dryers aren’t supported yet. They’ll be arriving in a forthcoming update.
Once more, 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 vacuum cleaners are arguably the biggest get here for HomeKit users. Through the Home app or other Matter-enabled platform, users can change cleaning modes (vacuuming versus mopping), view errors, and monitor charging status.
Unlike the original release of Matter, this new release has massive implications for users of Apple Home. Many of these are new devices types that Apple has never supported, and some existing devices get new functionality, like standalone fans.
More improvements for users
Other improvements for Matter 1.2 include enhancements for European door locks like latch and bolt models, device appearances in the various apps, and more.
The CSA is also touting that the Matter 1.2 SDK is available on more platforms, easing development, and 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, sticking with their biannual cadence. The 2024 updates should include more new devices types as well as “expand into new areas.”
Coming soon to your devices
While the Matter spec has been released, it will be a bit until you’ll be able to start using it. We have to first wait for Apple to support Matter 1.2 via the Home app and then for device manufacturers to support it on their devices.
Some devices may be able to be updated through new firmware, whereas others will be entirely new to the market.
We expect we’ll see much more regarding new Matter accessories at CES 2024 in January.
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