After nearly five years of developing the HomePod and four years after its announcement, Apple has now officially discontinued the original HomePod and will now shift its focus toward the smaller-sized HomePod mini.
The original HomePod was a spectacularly-sounding speaker with its array of seven tweeters and a four-inch subwoofer. Despite beating its competition in the sound department, the HomePod never really caught on and its price is to blame.
Apple originally priced the HomePod at $350 which was way more than its competitor’s prices at the time. It would have been acceptable if the HomePod had excelled in every aspect of being a successful smart speaker, but aside from its stunning sound quality, it had very less to offer, making the price unjustifiable. Apple did decrease the price to $299, but that did little for consumers as the HomePod was still costlier than most smart home speakers with a virtual assistant.
Apple finally released the HomePod Mini last year, which has been a hit among customers thanks to its compact size and decent sound quality.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple said that it will be discontinuing the original HomePod. It will, however, be available while supplies last, which won’t be for long:
“HomePod mini has been a hit since its debut last fall, offering customers amazing sound, an intelligent assistant, and smart home control all for just $99. We are focusing our efforts on HomePod mini. We are discontinuing the original HomePod, it will continue to be available while supplies last through the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers. Apple will provide HomePod customers with software updates and service and support through Apple Care.”
Earlier this week, some sites spotted that HomePod’s product listing over at Apple’s online store displayed an “Unavailable” tag. But that could’ve been anything ranging from a temporary unavailability or supply issues. Now we know that Apple has really discontinued the HomePod.
Existing HomePod users will receive software updates and service and support via Apple Care.
The HomePod mini, which is a smaller version of the original HomePod offers decent sound quality and is also selling at a reasonable price of $99, which makes it all the more lucrative. Its integration with Apple’s other products including the iPhone is also commendable. However, even the HomePod mini has a long way to go if it wants to truly compete with other similarly-priced smart home speakers in the market including Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Nest Smart Home Speakers.
One of the major aspects that are keeping the HomePod mini from receiving enough praise is Siri. People buy a smart home speaker—especially one that costs just $99—for its smart home capabilities first and then for its sound quality.
Siri on the HomePod, however, has to make up. For instance, you currently cannot set a default music streaming service. And that is just one of the many seemingly trivial but collectively significant grievances that people have with Siri on the HomePod.
Nevertheless, now that the HomePod mini is the sole smart speaker remaining that Apple sells, we can only hope that it gets better over time, thanks to that extended focus.