Late last week we heard that Apple killed HomePod. Gone. Dead.
But is it buried?
Announced via a comment to TechCrunch, Apple said that HomePod is gone three years after it went on sale with HomePod mini picking up the slack.
Let me be clear – HomePod mini is a great little product, but it's arguably crippled in ways the full-size HomePod isn't. Let me explain.
At launch, HomePod was often declared as too costly at $349. That wasn't helped by the fact Siri is Siri and not Google Assitant or Alexa. As far as smart speakers go, HomePod wasn't so smart. Three years later, it's better but still lacking. But HomePod is a great speaker. It sounds wonderful, especially if you are fortunate enough to run two as a stereo pair. Stunning, some might say.
HomePod mini, by contrast, can't sound as impressive as HomePod because of physics. It's smaller, with fewer sprinkles of magic inside. Or something. It sounds good, sure. But HomePod levels of good? No, it's not even close. And it still has to deal with Siri.
So here we are. HomePod mini lives on, HomePod is gone. One sounds better than the other. Both have Siri which, frankly, still needs some work. The real question now is where does HomePod as a brand go next?
It's possible HomePod mini gets a rebrand to HomePod and that's the end of that. Or we could see a new, larger HomePod mini come to market. Apple could call it, who knows. HomePod? But it wouldn't be quite as fancy as the one it just killed. Fewer scoops of magic but with an Apple H1 thrown in for some Handoff goodness, for example.
Normally I'd suggest Apple is just happy to roll with HomePod mini and call it a day. But we know Apple is all about the audio quality these days and it spent a not-so-small fortune on special buildings and rooms and hardware to make the best-sounding speakers and headphones it can. It just launched a pair of $550 over-ear headphones that sound amazing. Is it really going to be happy with HomePod mini as its best speaker?
I hope not. I'd love to see a HomePod of some sort priced at $199 that sits somewhere between the original HomePod and HomePod mini. Call it HomePod Pro if you want, I don't care. And let me use half a dozen of them in a home cinema setup while you're at it, please!
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.