If there’s one smart home feature that’s been an undeniable success at infiltrating households around the world, it's smart lights. While uptake on the best HomeKit video doorbells and smart locks may be slight, many homes now have voice-activated, app-controlled bulbs and lightstrips – and Philips Hue continues to be the leading brand in providing them.
And, in early 2023, they’re set to get even better. Signify, the parent company behind Philips Hue, has announced that its entire range (with the exception of the Philips Hue Play HDMI sync box and the dial of the Philips Hue Tap Dial Switch) will soon be getting an upgrade to make it compatible with the new Matter smart home standard. The update will come via the Philips Hue Bridge device.
Rolling out in Q1 of 2023, the update will simplify, streamline and unify the way that smart home gadgets work together – meaning that if you’re an Apple Home app user with loads of the best HomeKit devices already set up, you’ll be able to them to interact seamlessly with devices that once would have been exclusive, for instance, to Google or Amazon’s smart home platforms. While Hue devices have always been multi-platform, Matter integration will make them work better with devices that were previously not as open to different smart home interfaces.
Third party opportunities - and extra Apple steps
In addition, the Matter integration opens up the potential for further third-party app support for the Hue devices, with developers able to sign up to the Philips Hue Developer Community to bring their Matter-compatible apps into the Philips Hue flock too.
It sounds as though there will be an extra step for Apple HomeKit users however. For those using Apple’s platform with Philips Hue devices, and want to get the Matter upgrade, they will be required to reset their devices. That’s an unfortunate complication for the owner of a finely-tuned smart home, especially as Philips states that those embedded within Google and Amazon smart home ecosystems need do nothing extra than simply letting the update take place.
Regardless, the move to an industry-wide standard for smart home devices is a welcome one. If Matter’s rollout proves successful, you’ll eventually be able to pick up any smart home-connected device you like, and interact with it using any controller platform you like, without fear of incompatibility. It should make investing in a smart home set up a far less daunting prospect.
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Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 14 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system.
Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.