Apple discontinues full-size HomePod, to focus on HomePod mini

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 12
Apple on Friday announced the discontinuation of the full-size HomePod, saying it plans to focus on production and development of the HomePod mini.

HomePod


Apple informed TechCrunch of the product's end of life in a statement today.
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 company plans to sell remaining HomePod units until stock is depleted, though Apple's online storefront is already sold out of Space Gray models. Support will also continue until the product is declared obsolete.

Announced at WWDC 2017, HomePod was Apple's first foray into the smart speaker market and provided users voice access to Siri and HomeKit without an accompanying iPhone, iPad or Mac. Powered by an A8 processor, the device featured cutting-edge audio technology like beamforming microphones, adaptive audio, an advanced echo cancellation system and more.

A flagship device, HomePod failed to gain traction in large part because of its $349 price tag. Apple later reduced that figure to $299, but the cost was still too much for consumers to swallow. Though it touted amazing sound for such a small package, HomePod's performance -- specifically paired "stereo" mode -- was eclipsed at its market price point by dedicated home theater setups.

Today's announcement might not come as a shock to some, as HomePod went four years without a hardware revision.

It seems Apple is content to push development of HomePod mini, a smaller, less tech-heavy device that was introduced in 2020 and boasts all of the connectivity and smart functions as its larger sibling. Though it lacks the audio prowess of a seven-tweeter array and large woofer, the smaller HomePod mini is more versatile with newer internals that enable features like physical Handoff capabilities. Perhaps most importantly, the device is cheaper.

Shoppers looking to purchase the Space Gray HomePod can find it at TigerDirect, Best Buy and B&H Photo.

Stay on top of the latest Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider," and you'll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for "AppleInsider Daily" instead and you'll hear a quick update direct from our news team. And, if you're interested in Apple-centric home automation, say "Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider," and you'll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 204
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 640member
    Sigh.  I am waiting to get the HomePod 2, as I know there are some flaws in the original.  
    starof80Scot1caladanianspock1234
  • Reply 2 of 204
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 635member
    Disappointing considering I have two HomePods.
    starof80geekmeerepressthisbluefire1pulseimagescaladanianGeorgeBMacdbvaporflyingdpramanpfaff
  • Reply 3 of 204
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,041member
    If there's no HP2, will my HP1s go up in resale value?
    spock1234
  • Reply 4 of 204
    What about the rumors of the second HomePod? I was going to buy that when it came out.
    Scot1Japheycaladanianwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 204
    WTF! The HomePod is awesome! If anything I wanted a bigger one, a subwoofer and multichannel sound! The HomePod mini is cute and sounds great, but it doesn’t play loud enough. This is disappointing.
    JosephAUInspiredCodecaladanianspock1234foregoneconclusionGeorgeBMacjas99JWSCuraharaStrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 204
    If I went this route instead of another, I would be pissed off beyond belief. Smart home products are a gamble, due to manufacturer support. At best, you are leasing the equipment until it is not supported anymore...then back to the store you go. 
    caladanianGeorgeBMaclkruppWgkruegerJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 204
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 624member
    markbyrn said:
    Disappointing considering I have two HomePods.
    Me too....but the sound is way way better than the mini
    pulseimageschasmcaladanianspock1234GeorgeBMacflyingdpjas99JWSCaegeanurahara
  • Reply 8 of 204
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 2,895member
    Yeah, I can’t say I’m totally surprised. Like the article said, there was nothing wrong with the technology or sound quality - the reviews were pretty much unanimous that both were excellent. Apple just came late to the smart speaker market and out priced itself. 

    Now, imagine if instead of spending $300 on a smart speaker you just spent $70,000 on a car...
    mistergoodmanmike54spock1234blurpbleepbloopJWSCmuthuk_vanalingamAlex1N
  • Reply 9 of 204
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,607member
    I learned my lesson with the Newton Message Pad. I steer way clear of tech that I don't have an actual need for. Cute, interesting, cool, sure sure. I saw these speakers come out, looked at the speakers I have (and have had for 20 years) and said to myself "skippit until those get to $99...for 2x in stereo and with a lifetime of Apple Music on them." That's not happening.
    darkvaderanantksundarammike54williamlondonAlex1N
  • Reply 10 of 204
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 471member
    Hi Homepod, this is iPod Hi-Fi!  Welcome to the discontinued overpriced garbage club!

    It was a stupid product when it was new, it never improved, the price never dropped to anything even remotely close to reasonable, Apple discontinued it. 

    Why would anybody be surprised?  It was a failure from minute 1.
    anantksundaramneoncatentropysapplguywilliamlondonviclauyycmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 204
    cloudguycloudguy Posts: 323member
    I nearly bought this thing (a couple actually) but the inability to interface with anything but Apple tech - not even over bluetooth plus no AUX port - made it impractical. My household has a mix of devices from all the various platforms. And of course we didn't pay $179 for an Apple TV when a "slim" XBox can be frequently had for not much more so it couldn't even be used as a soundbar. Appears lots of other people felt the same way.

    Also, let us tally up.
    Samsung Bixby speaker: never launched. (Which was a shame because Samsung actually does have quite good speakers meaning that it would have been better than the Google and Amazon products.)
    Microsoft Cortana speaker: see above - minus the history of producing quality speakers - plus they just pulled the plug on the sole third party product (by Hamdan Karman).
    HomePod: dead
    Google Home Max: dead
    That leaves the Echo Studio/Echo Sub $320 combo as the only premium smart speaker product. I guess it is fair as Amazon did invent this category. However ... Amazon's refusal to sell any other smart speaker than their own makes it JUST A BIT LESS FAIR.

    So, Amazon's monopoly aside, it looks like $99 is the ceiling for first party smart speakers. Anything more than that will need to be a third party product for whom the "smarts" is a bonus. Which the HomePod could and should have been! I mean seriously there was no reason to lock everyone else out of the HomePod when AirPods and Beats are for everyone. Who knows how many of these things Apple would have sold if it supported third party devices via AUX and/or bluetooth. I personally would have at least two by now otherwise. Ah well, missed opportunity.

    But further proof that Apple can't just throw their weight around and do whatever they want. If it doesn't have the combination of good product, good strategy and a justification for existing then not even the very devoted Apple fans will buy it. Apple should remember that as they plan to enter the electric car market and it is all the more reason why they should agree to Hyundai's terms for a partnership. 
    edited March 12 dbvapormuthuk_vanalingamAlex1N
  • Reply 12 of 204
    I use my HomePods in stereo for a home theater, paired with an Apple TV. Really love the experience. An excellent product and I’m so pleased to have ditched my old jumbo sized 3.1 sounds system, never wanting to go back. But in 5 years when the HomePods are vintage, I wonder what’s next? Sonos... eh, maybe. 
    davenrcfaemoellerjas99JWSCAlex1N
  • Reply 13 of 204
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 471member
    If there's no HP2, will my HP1s go up in resale value?

    If there's no Juicero 2, will your Juciero 1 go up in resale value? 

    (No.)
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 204
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 471member
    starof80 said:
    What about the rumors of the second HomePod? I was going to buy that when it came out.

    Maybe you can buy the first one at fire sale prices.  It would be worth buying for $50.

    (And by that I mean $50 for a pair.  $50 for one is far too much.)

    edited March 12 anantksundaramwilliamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 204
    cloudguycloudguy Posts: 323member
    darkvader said:
    starof80 said:
    What about the rumors of the second HomePod? I was going to buy that when it came out.

    Maybe you can buy the first one at fire sale prices.  It would be worth buying for $50.

    (And by that I mean $50 for a pair.  $50 for one is far too much.)

    I am hoping that you are joking. In case you aren't, the discontinued Google Home Max costs $160 refurbished. No way the HomePod is going to be anywhere near that cheap.
    spock1234jas99
  • Reply 16 of 204
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 504member
    starof80 said:
    What about the rumors of the second HomePod? I was going to buy that when it came out.
    Me too. I was hoping they would be a surprise release at the spring event alongside a new ATV. Or at least a midrange model for around $200. There has to be something else incoming though, right? The Mini can’t be our only option. They’re fine and all, just not as loud (even in stereo) as I need them to be. 
    edited March 13 spock1234stourqueAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 204
    red oakred oak Posts: 841member
    That is an awful decision

    Awful
    Scot1chasmcaladanianwilliamlondonwdchildersjas99JWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 204
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,294member
    darkvader said:
    Hi Homepod, this is iPod Hi-Fi!  Welcome to the discontinued overpriced garbage club!

    It was a stupid product when it was new, it never improved, the price never dropped to anything even remotely close to reasonable, Apple discontinued it. 

    Why would anybody be surprised?  It was a failure from minute 1.
    Lol.  Troll.   Seeing as it lasted a most 4 years I don’t think that constitutes a failed product.  

    It is awesome and I just went and bought a second to go with my first, which is a great device.  I also have a single HomePod mini which is ok but has nowhere near the sound quality.  

    Hopefully they come out with a HP 2 
    spock1234williamlondonGeorgeBMacmike1stourquejas99JWSCStrangeDaysbarthrhAlex1N
  • Reply 19 of 204
    russwrussw Posts: 21member
    I use my HomePods in stereo for a home theater, paired with an Apple TV. Really love the experience. An excellent product and I’m so pleased to have ditched my old jumbo sized 3.1 sounds system, never wanting to go back. But in 5 years when the HomePods are vintage, I wonder what’s next? Sonos... eh, maybe. 
    Yes, this is a cool functionality that would go away. You can’t even use a single mini as he default output for an AppleTV so maybe Apple will add this ability. Sure won’t match your stereo HomePod setup quality but I use one Apple TV in my garage for exercise (Zwift in my case but could be fitness+ for others. Don’t need the best quality sound for that.  
    JWSCwatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 20 of 204
    This is by far the stupidest thing that Apple has done in a very long time.

    I have about $1000 of HomePods that now have a very fuzzy future on support, new features, bug fixes, etc

    The issues posed by this decision and the failure to realize how detrimental this is to their offering IMO includes but is not limited to: 


    1. The one thing with the HomePod truly does well is music. It’s a crap smart assistant compared to its competitors. The experience with the HomePod mini is the same overall, however it sounds only marginally better than my iPad at best. Meaning it’s still a smart speaker but only really excels at being able to play music on Apple Music, but it just doesn’t sound all that good doing it. 
    2. I would expect the HomePod mini would act as an entry point to the HomePod ecosystem for many. And there’s no doubt in my mind that if the HomePod ecosystem grows through the HomePod mini, with a little patience OG HomePod sales would grow alongside it. I assume that was part of the rationale in introducing the HomePod mini. The HomePod mini would be the iPhone, and the HomePod would be the iPhone pro. 
    3. While the Apple smart home experience is far from perfect, I would consider it semi-complete. If you remove the OG HomePod from the mix it gets really confusing and silly. It leaves big gaping holes in what their “vision” is for a functioning ecosystem in a smart home top to bottom.  For example, say I buy offbrand airplay 2 speakers that I want to be able to use to play apple music in my home. I, like many of you would refuse to use anything that listens all the time made by Google or Amazon, which means that I either have to tell my phone hey siri to play music in a certain room (something it doesn’t do very well, and never mind the fact that for some reason the watch still doesn’t do this with siri) or I still have a HomePod mini in that room that I would tell to play the music. But you would have to word it so that you’re telling the HomePod mini to play music on another speaker in that room and not the HomePod mini itself. Because I really do want a decent smart assist and a decent speaker in the same room.  And when you consider multiple rooms, like what, do actually expect you to have a HomePod mini along with an actual decent sounding airplay/HomeKit speaker in every room? 
    4. I don’t expect that they will support this software wise with new features very long, let alone bug fixes. Also let alone in a timely manner. And with how many bugs still exist and have existed for a long time my expectations that they ever get fixed is lowered further.  It’s not being replaced by a new model, it’s being discontinued. It runs the same software as the mini, sure, but the hardware is different. Which doesn’t bode super well imo for attention of any sort. It’s already neglected before it was discontinued. 
    5. as it starts to get gray in the face software update wise, I can definitely see a scenario for those that use it entirely as a home hub on HomeKit or as one of their home hubs on HomeKit, where without buying a new device you either don’t get all the new HomeKit features and improvements, or you have a much buggier experience. Something that is already been a problem in the past between different home hubs. Also , Remember that you can’t disable the HomePod as a home hub like you can an Apple TV. 
    6. Did I mention how truly stupid this seems to me? Like it feels like I should sell the three I have and get out early. They are signaling they aren’t going to offer anything in this market segment at the moment. They are already neglected software wise, it will only get worse, and they’re so proprietary, and they weren’t cheap. 

    Anyone else?!
    Scot1DoctorQanantksundaramcaladanianspock1234sflagelrcfashark5150jas99JWSC
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