Apple is discontinuing the original HomePod, its first smart speaker that was launched back in 2017. Having had a run of over 4 years, the HomePod in its grey trim is no longer listed on the official Apple e-shop. After sunsetting its $349 smart speaker, Apple says it is turning its attention to the smaller and more affordable HomePod mini moving forward. Here is what Apple said in a statement shared with TechCrunch:
“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.”
The HomePod Mini was launched back in October last year, and appeared to be a more palatable package, thanks to its $99 price tag. It came equipped with a full-range dynamic driver and a pair of radiators to handle the bass output. Apple fitted its mini smart speaker with an S5 chip to do some computation audio magic for optimizing the sound output. It also allows users to create a stereo system and there is also the U1 chip inside that lets users pair their iPhone with it by just bringing it near the speaker.
Apple also offered a new intercom feature with the HomePod mini. In my experience, I found the HomePod Mini to be the more compelling – and reasonable – package based on its sound quality and the features it brings to the table for its $99 asking price. Yes, the larger HomePod sounds a lot better, but its high asking price of $349 has been a deterrent for a lot of people. and even though Apple reduced the price to $299 in 2019, it was still on the higher side, especially when compared to what rivals had to offer.