Apple officially discontinues HomePod and focuses on HomePod Mini
- 30 Mar, 2021
The original HomePod model is being officially discontinued by Apple. On the company's online store product page, you'll see the message stating "While supplies last” and it is already unavailable in some areas. Apple has not announced any plans to replace the model at this time and there have also been no rumors that a new HomePod is on the way.
However, Apple will continue to produce and focus on HomePod mini launched last year which has been very well received and clearly accomplishes many of the duties that the larger version was tasked with.
The HomePod was the most powerful prime-sounding smart speaker on the market when it debuted in 2018. The audio quality of the product was praised, particularly given its small size. The speaker targeted the high end section of the market, and Apple justified the price by emphasizing on the audio quality over Amazon and Google's cheaper smart speaker offerings. However, critics were critical of the AUD 450 launch price, the inferior Siri experience compared to other voice assistants, and the general limitations on playing music other than Apple Music on the device
As a result, Apple reduced the price to a much more reasonable and improved the product via software updates. Despite these attempts, the original HomePod was never a big seller, and while most people who purchased seemed to like it, the average consumer is still hesitant to spend AUD 450 on a smart speaker when there are much less expensive options available.
To combat this, Apple released the HomePod mini last year. Despite its size, the mini is said to have respectable audio quality and a much larger feature set than the original HomePod. The device works seamlessly with iPhone to transfer music, answer calls, and provide personalized listening recommendations — it also improves the sound from Apple TV, play music from a Mac, and much more. It includes a new Intercom feature that allows members of a household to communicate with one another.
HomePod mini has been a hit since its debut last fall and appears to be the way forward for smart speaker makers, as most consumers appear to be unconcerned about audio quality, as evidenced by the increasing popularity of low-cost wireless speakers and soundbars.
The HomePod will continue to function, but even if you can find one at a discount, it is unlikely to be a good investment because it will no longer receive software updates to increase its performance. If you're looking for a strong smart speaker, here are some of your other choices.
- Apple HomePod Mini: Apple's smaller HomePod, has an impressive feature set, equally good audio performance, and rewards iPhone users with a simple setup process. You're stuck with Siri as your only smart assistant, lacking functionality of Alexa or Google Assistant.
- Sonos One: This is your way to go if you want excellent sound quality and the ability to integrate your whole-house sound system into the Sonos ecosystem. But if you're looking for specifically a great smart home hub, you should look elsewhere because compatibility can be a problem.
- Google Nest Audio: Apple’s HomePod Mini’s direct competitor, Google Nest Audio offers excellent sound. The design is excellent, ties nicely into other Google apps, and the Google Assistant offers many more features than Siri, especially if you’re hoping to ask it questions.
- Amazon Echo Studio: Standing at a higher price end, it's a worthwhile upgrade in terms of sound quality if you're set on using Alexa as your smart assistant. Overall, the sound quality has improved and you'll notice a difference in bass.