On our most recent IoT Podcast, Dennis called in to our voicemail hotline with a HomeKit question. He’s wondering which HomeKit hub would be best for a smart home. Remember that the HomePod speakers, an iPad or an AppleTV can be used as a HomeKit hub for remote access.
On the surface then, it sounds like it really doesn’t matter which would be the “best” to use a HomeKit hub. Any of them would work. However, we do have a few aspects to consider, which set two of these choices to be different than the others.
First, an iPad would be our solution if you had no other HomeKit hub devices. However, if you do have a HomePod or AppleTV, they would be the better choice over an iPad.
Why? For an iPad to be a HomeKit hub, it has to be powered on. And since it’s a battery-powered device, you run the risk of it being out of juice. In that case, you’re HomeKit is hubless. So why take that chance if you have or want a HomePod speaker or Apple TV? These are always plugged in to an outlet, so you’re reducing the risk of a hub outage.
Secondly, while all of these devices appear to have the same HomeKit hub functionality, the new HomePod mini speaker we recently reviewed actually has one extra feature. It supports the Thread protocol.
While you may not have Thread devices currently, there’s a good chance that you could in the future. Thread is one of the protocols that Project CHIP supports, for example.
But it’s not just about protocol support. In our testing, Thread devices respond much faster than any other non-Thread devices. You’ll have a better experience with little to no latency in your smart home if and when Thread devices are more readily available. For that reason, we’d suggest a HomePod mini over all of the other HomeKit hubs.
To hear Dennis’ question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: