HomePodSource: Apple TV+

What you need to know

  • Apple has announced that they are discontinuing the HomePod.
  • The company will continue to support it with software updates and service through AppleCare.
  • The HomePod mini will become the company's only smart speaker.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Space Gray HomePod was unavailable through Apple. At the time, it was thought that Apple may be running into production issues with the device, a reasonable guess due to the supply chain issues with virtually every product during the pandemic.

However, it appears that the lack of availability is due to the fact that Apple has made the decision to discontinue the HomePod altogether.

As reported by TechCrunch, after a four-year run, Apple is discontinuing the HomePod and focusing completely on the HomePod mini, its smaller but mighty HomePod speaker. The original HomePod, which took five years for the company to make, took an immense effort and a huge commitment from the company to produce the product that came to market.

The original HomePod was a feat of audio engineering that Apple spent over 5 years developing. In order to accomplish its development, the team at Apple built out a full development center near its headquarters in Cupertino, with a world-class development environment with a dozen anechoic chambers, including one of the bigger anechoic chambers outside of academic use in the US. I visited the center before its release, noting that Apple took it the extra mile to get the incredibly complex series of tweeters and woofer that built its soundspace:

White HomePod sitting on a television standSource: iMore

While almost everyone praised the speaker for its incredible audio quality, it struggled to gain any kind of major traction due to the price point and the state of Siri, Apple's voice assistant, at the time of release.

The major gripe for the speaker at the time was the $349 price, which was at the top end of the home speaker market, especially those with embedded home assistants. A price drop to $299 mitigated that somewhat, but still put it at the top of the pricing umbrella for the class. Apple's HomePod mini, launched last year, has been well received. Our Brian Heater said that it had 'remarkably big sound' for the $99 price.

In a statement, Apple says that the HomePod will continue to be available through the Apple Online Store, Apple Stores, and authorized third-party retailers until supplies run out. It has also promised to continue to support the speaker with software updates and service through AppleCare, but it is unclear for how 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.

Homepod Mini Review 1Source: Stephen Warwick / iMore

While the original HomePod never took off, we have to be appreciative for its existence. We never would have gotten the HomePod mini without it.

Apple HomePod Mini White

HomePod mini

Bottom line: Apple is preaching to the choir with this one, a tremendous speaker for its price and size, but only for those who are already invested in Apple's ecosystem of products and services.

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