HomePod is sold out, but isn't dead yet - Apple's 'end of life' explained

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 74
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,042member
    This was one of Apple's fastest discontinues and no product available, there is usually a burn down time on the announcement until you can not buy what is left in stock. I have been thinking about adding a second Homepod, I have come to enjoy it. as soon I read Apple was discontinuing it, I figured time to stop waiting. All the third party seller are out, it appear apple is the last one with stock and they holding the price, no last time buying at discount. For those who are still interesting in buying Best buy has open box one for sale, get it now if you really want one. For product which was love hate with many people quickly bought up what was left, i bet you will see them on ebay soon at higher cost.

    Everyone know it was not perfect on the smart side of things, however, as a stand alone speaker, I personally have not seen anything better, (leaving out a massive stereo systems which I have 3 in my house). As I said have have 3 systems in my house which are all set up for surround sound. One is in the family room, we use to play music from our Apple TV for first floor back ground music and the number one complain was you had to crank it up just so you could hear it is the kitchen. We we constantly increase and lowering the volume. Once we put in the Homepod, we never turn on the family room system for music. The Homepod sits between the family room and kitchen and it nicely fills the rooms with music including our dining and living room on the other side of the house.

    Over the years the smart side has gotten better and Apple seems to fix the annoying problem of responding to the TV when someone said Siri, or a word which sounds similar. For while there it was happen all the time. Can not remember the last time that happen. We now using it for home automation and it working well, not perfect, that too seems to be improving with time.

    As long as Apple keeps making software updates both on the speaker and server side its worth having. I do give it about 5 years until Apple's says no more software updates and we will replace it when there is must have feature which requires new hardware or software not supported by the original Homepod.
    edited March 2021 Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 22 of 74
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,840member
    JWSC said:

    It is also clear that they have a habit of neglecting other key products.  A company the size of Apple should have ample resources to devote to all the product spaces that they choose to be in.   Yet Apple does not appear to have a strategy or roadmap of what product spaces they want to be in 5-10 years down the road.  Like many others, I find this to be a deeply troubling sign of rudderless and sclerotic management.

    I think you've fallen for the "infinite resources" assumption. Apple is exactly choosing what markets they want to be in. The expensive, large format smart speaker market the original HomePod is part of is not one of those markets. They had it out there long enough to see how it would do and how competitors would respond. The ones who responded or launched similar products around the same price point aren't exactly riding a wave of unbound sales. I expect the Echo Studio will suffer the same fate as the HomePod. Without insider access to Apple's strategic planning we don't know whether the HomePod's demise was a strategic failure, an execution failure, a marketing failure, or whatever.

    I'm very interested in how would you even begin to know that Apple has or does not have "a strategy or roadmap of what product spaces they want to be in 5-10 years down the road." Unless you are part of Apple's strategic planning team or on the board of directors how would you be privy to that information, especially forward looking strategy? If you're doing this by looking backwards (armchair quarterbacking) you're only seeing the products that survived Apple's strategic cut for release, got released to the market, and either succeeded or failed in the market. This is only a piece of the puzzle and is easily muddied by failures in marketing, execution, changing consumer preferences, and external market factors that are wholly distinct from strategy and roadmapping.

    To assess the quality of, or score, Apple's strategy and roadmap you would have to see what did not survive Apple's strategic cuts. There is just as much to learn from the non-survivors as there is to learn from the survivors. Failure to consider non-survivors and focus solely on survivors is a common cognitive bias known as "survivorship bias."  This leads to overly optimistic or overly pessimistic assumptions due to the lack of visibility, and that's even before consideration for the possible other causes of failure previously mentioned.

    roundaboutnowAlex1NkiltedgreensilvertideDetnator
  • Reply 23 of 74
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,935member
    entropys said:
    JWSC and Avon seem to be correct. 
    Spend a lot of time developing a product, then release with massive fanfare and an extraordinary price and other limitations that is not well received in the market.
    so instead of correcting and fine tuning to fix the market problems, nothing.  Languishment. Another potentially great product dies from neglect because someone got egg on their face.

    Unfortunately it isn’t like the naughty kid sent to the attic and forgotten while the rest of the family fly to Paris for Christmas.
    They did correct and fine-tune, the same way they did the iPhone. The original iPhone isn't still on the market, it's been replaced by other, newer iPhones in different form-factors.

    They released the HomePod mini for that iteration.
    Mike, the iPhone is an established product that is the company’s bread and butter. This is about ecosystem peripherals I guess. HomePod, routers, displays, even the Mac Pro. These products are all potentially great, but had a few issues,  they don’t get updated/fixed, the technology ages, and then starts looking extremely poor value for money over time. If the first iteration isn’t a total success, the hardware limitations especially aren’t addressed. As for the software in the HomePod, desultory fixes might be a good way to describe them. 
    This product got shunned by leadership very early in the piece, which is a shame.
    My concern is that this was part of a home invasion strategy that now seems less defined, less robust.
    Quite so. Incoherent even.
    edited March 2021 JWSCAlex1Nanantksundaramcaladanianelijahg
  • Reply 24 of 74
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,594administrator
    entropys said:
    entropys said:
    JWSC and Avon seem to be correct. 
    Spend a lot of time developing a product, then release with massive fanfare and an extraordinary price and other limitations that is not well received in the market.
    so instead of correcting and fine tuning to fix the market problems, nothing.  Languishment. Another potentially great product dies from neglect because someone got egg on their face.

    Unfortunately it isn’t like the naughty kid sent to the attic and forgotten while the rest of the family fly to Paris for Christmas.
    They did correct and fine-tune, the same way they did the iPhone. The original iPhone isn't still on the market, it's been replaced by other, newer iPhones in different form-factors.

    They released the HomePod mini for that iteration.
    Mike, the iPhone is an established product that is the company’s bread and butter. This is about ecosystem peripherals I guess. HomePod, routers, displays, even the Mac Pro. These products are all potentially great, but had a few issues,  they don’t get updated/fixed, the technology ages, and then starts looking extremely poor value for money over time. If the first iteration isn’t a total success, the hardware limitations especially aren’t addressed. As for the software in the HomePod, desultory fixes might be a good way to describe them. 
    This product got shunned by leadership very early in the piece, which is a shame.
    My concern is that this was part of a home invasion strategy that now seems less defined, less robust.
    Quite so. Incoherent even.
    It wasn't the company's bread and butter when it was replaced.

    The point is, the ecosystem hasn't been killed. The HomePod mini still exists. 
    Alex1Njahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 25 of 74
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,202member

    JWSC said:
    This article misses the boat a bit because most of us know that Apple will not discontinue support for the HomePod anytime soon.  What is disconcerting is Apple’s decision to cancel it does leave one with the impression that Apple is rudderless with regard to product development and support.  Apple does not appear to have a “product champion” assigned as an owner to each of their products.  That’s bad news when the VP of hardware engineer in clearly has his eye elsewhere.
    Most of the AI forum goers know, yes. But, AI is for everybody, with varying levels of knowledge. Our emails were bonkers this weekend.

    The HomePod ecosystem isn't dead. It evolved into the HomePod mini, like Apple said.
    You have more confidence than I in the HomePod mini and Apple’s dedication to the home smart speaker business.  I hope you are right.  But after this I am left with doubt and uncertainty.  The strong negative reaction to this news should tell you something about how much Apple thought this through.
    Alex1Nanantksundarambala1234caladanianwilliamlondonGeorgeBMacjahbladeelijahgn2itivguy
  • Reply 26 of 74
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,202member
    dewme said:
    JWSC said:

    It is also clear that they have a habit of neglecting other key products.  A company the size of Apple should have ample resources to devote to all the product spaces that they choose to be in.   Yet Apple does not appear to have a strategy or roadmap of what product spaces they want to be in 5-10 years down the road.  Like many others, I find this to be a deeply troubling sign of rudderless and sclerotic management.

    I'm very interested in how would you even begin to know that Apple has or does not have "a strategy or roadmap of what product spaces they want to be in 5-10 years down the road." ...
    I thought I had already addressed this but apparently I wasn’t clear enough.  Answer: Good and competent product management doesn’t leave a struggling product on the shelf for four years.  Being somewhat in the product business myself I know this to be true.
    Alex1Nanantksundaramwilliamlondonelijahg
  • Reply 27 of 74
    The talk about ongoing support misses an important point - to get one of these things repaired costs $279.  One of my two (a synched pair) developed the dreaded "flashing volume buttons" last week.  It was a Christmas present less than 15 months ago.  I already had one (which has AppleCare+) but I didn't think to buy the extended warranty for a gift.  According to the Genius I took it to, it will cost the standard charge of $279 to fix it.  She recommended buying a new one, but all Apple stores and the online store are out of stock (it's space grey, of course).

    How on earth can Apple charge $299 for the product brand new with a 12 month warranty but $279 for any repair to it with only a 90 day warranty?
    Alex1Nanantksundaramuktechien2itivguysellerington
  • Reply 28 of 74
    entropys said:
    entropys said:
    JWSC and Avon seem to be correct. 
    Spend a lot of time developing a product, then release with massive fanfare and an extraordinary price [and other limitations that is not well received in the market.
    so instead of correcting and fine tuning to fix the market problems, nothing.  Languishment. Another potentially great product dies from neglect because someone got egg on their face.

    Unfortunately it isn’t like the naughty kid sent to the attic and forgotten while the rest of the family fly to Paris for Christmas.
    They did correct and fine-tune, the same way they did the iPhone. The original iPhone isn't still on the market, it's been replaced by other, newer iPhones in different form-factors.

    They released the HomePod mini for that iteration.
    Mike, the iPhone is an established product that is the company’s bread and butter. This is about ecosystem peripherals I guess. HomePod, routers, displays, even the Mac Pro. These products are all potentially great, but had a few issues,  they don’t get updated/fixed, the technology ages, and then starts looking extremely poor value for money over time. If the first iteration isn’t a total success, the hardware limitations especially aren’t addressed. As for the software in the HomePod, desultory fixes might be a good way to describe them. 
    This product got shunned by leadership very early in the piece, which is a shame.
    My concern is that this was part of a home invasion strategy that now seems less defined, less robust.
    Quite so. Incoherent even.
    It wasn't the company's bread and butter when it was replaced.

    The point is, the ecosystem hasn't been killed. The HomePod mini still exists. 
    A sibling product that didn't get 'killed' is not my definition of an 'ecosystem.'

    There's nothing to suggest that the little sibling won't killed off either.
    williamlondonelijahgsellerington
  • Reply 29 of 74
    I had been on the fence about getting a second one to use as a stereo pair. But once I learned that HomePod was being discontinued, I went to my local Best Buy and bought one the next day. I've seen Apple's track record with their discontinued products, and wasn't the least bit concerned about being left with two dud speakers that wouldn't work. And now I wonder why I waited so long to get a stereo pair. They sound amazing together! I work as an audio engineer, and have a (relatively) high-end monitoring set-up for my work. Suffice it to say, I have a high standard. The HomePods easily meet that standard. They are a pleasure to use for casual listening.
    edited March 2021 JWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 30 of 74
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,748member
    JWSC said:
    This article misses the boat a bit because most of us know that Apple will not discontinue support for the HomePod anytime soon.  What is disconcerting is Apple’s decision to cancel it does leave one with the impression that Apple is rudderless with regard to product development and support.  Apple does not appear to have a “product champion” assigned as an owner to each of their products.  That’s bad news when the VP of hardware engineer in clearly has his eye elsewhere.
    No, it doesn't suggest that. It was around for 4 years. They decided to end it. I wish they hadn't, but it's not some sort of handwaving indictor of woe within Apple. Apple canceled products under Jobs as well. Just the result of internal discussion.
    yes, but 4 years is a 'one-and-done' in terms of products. There were no updated versions after the initial one was introduced, so they came out with the HomePod, sold it for 4 years without any further investment and then abandoned it; there's not much commitment there. 


    JWSCcaladanianGeorgeBMacavon b7elijahgn2itivguyhcrefugee
  • Reply 31 of 74
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,840member
    JWSC said:
    dewme said:
    JWSC said:

    It is also clear that they have a habit of neglecting other key products.  A company the size of Apple should have ample resources to devote to all the product spaces that they choose to be in.   Yet Apple does not appear to have a strategy or roadmap of what product spaces they want to be in 5-10 years down the road.  Like many others, I find this to be a deeply troubling sign of rudderless and sclerotic management.

    I'm very interested in how would you even begin to know that Apple has or does not have "a strategy or roadmap of what product spaces they want to be in 5-10 years down the road." ...
    I thought I had already addressed this but apparently I wasn’t clear enough.  Answer: Good and competent product management doesn’t leave a struggling product on the shelf for four years.  Being somewhat in the product business myself I know this to be true.
    You’ve clearly identified issues with execution, including questioning why Apple failed to improve Siri to make it generally useful, and your assertion that Apple’s product management assigned to this product was functionally incompetent. What’s this have to do with strategy or 5-10 year product roadmaps? Apple is showing us with the HomePod mini that there is a market for an Apple smart speaker, even with its lock-in model. 
    n2itivguy
  • Reply 32 of 74
    dewme said:

    (snip)
    Sorry, but Apple has recently taken as bold and as decisive of a hard turn to starboard that is possible, a hard turn that will decide their fate for at least the next decade and beyond with the release of the first generation of Apple Silicon Macintosh computers. They have essentially severed the relationship that has provided sustainment for the commodity personal computer market for the past 35 plus years, i.e., Mother Intel always there feeding new silicon for system builders to hang their futures on.

    Cool story and all but Apple didn’t use Intel chips until 2005. Even with your implied caveat about commodity PC market, the Mac Silicon move is nowhere as momentous as you make it sound. More like a decade and a half blip in a 5 decade existence.

    elijahg
  • Reply 33 of 74
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,078member
    thrang said:

    Was Beats "worth" $3bn though? There is a lot less buzz arounds Beats lately it seems...


    Beats music had all the deals in place to allow Apple Music to hit the ground running. It was really the kickoff of the big Services push of the last several years. The headphones are a nice add-on to the music service, but certainly not the main act. 
    jahbladewatto_cobran2itivguybyronl
  • Reply 34 of 74
    Someone should tell AppleInsider that the iPhone 5C was obsolete in 2017, not 2020.  The iPhone 5C was cut off in 2017 with the release of iOS 11.  AppleInsider is confusing software support with hardware parts repair support.  Once the software isn't supported, the product is pretty much useless.  Sure Apple could provide repair parts in 2020, but developers and Apple stopped supporting iOS 10 three years earlier.

    The HomePod uses the outdated A8.  Apple hasn't used this chip since 2015, 6 long years ago.  The mini uses the Watch CPU and has hardware not present in the HomePod.  Apple does not support discontinued products for long.  Look how they killed off the original iPad with iOS 5.1.1, making that model quickly obsolete.

    I get that the very small group of people that bought HomePod are upset, but it was abundantly clear that it was always half-baked, Siri is awful, and it was a heavily restricted product designed to sell Apple Music subscriptions.  $349 was a joke, and they could not unload them at $199.  But Apple won't be supporting it for long, and it will be an overpriced AirPlay speaker.  My 25 year old JBL floor-standing speakers sound incredible, and they cost less than two obsolete HomePods.  Apple is famous for burning a few customers here and there.  Remember the term, IIvx'd?  (Even on day one, the HomePod never sold out because enough people knew it was a turd of a product).
    GeorgeBMacelijahgcgWerks
  • Reply 35 of 74
    "AirPort routers are no longer sold by Apple, but still receive regular updates."

    What are you talking about?  The last update to the AirPort products, the late generation ones, was TWO years ago.  You call that 'regular updates'?  Stop trying to make people think Apple supports discontinued products, especially ones that did not sell well at all.
    GeorgeBMacelijahguktechiebyronl
  • Reply 36 of 74
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,284member
    dewme said:
    JWSC said:

    It is also clear that they have a habit of neglecting other key products.  A company the size of Apple should have ample resources to devote to all the product spaces that they choose to be in.   Yet Apple does not appear to have a strategy or roadmap of what product spaces they want to be in 5-10 years down the road.  Like many others, I find this to be a deeply troubling sign of rudderless and sclerotic management.

    I think you've fallen for the "infinite resources" assumption. Apple is exactly choosing what markets they want to be in. The expensive, large format smart speaker market the original HomePod is part of is not one of those markets. They had it out there long enough to see how it would do and how competitors would respond. The ones who responded or launched similar products around the same price point aren't exactly riding a wave of unbound sales. I expect the Echo Studio will suffer the same fate as the HomePod. Without insider access to Apple's strategic planning we don't know whether the HomePod's demise was a strategic failure, an execution failure, a marketing failure, or whatever.

    I'm very interested in how would you even begin to know that Apple has or does not have "a strategy or roadmap of what product spaces they want to be in 5-10 years down the road." Unless you are part of Apple's strategic planning team or on the board of directors how would you be privy to that information, especially forward looking strategy? If you're doing this by looking backwards (armchair quarterbacking) you're only seeing the products that survived Apple's strategic cut for release, got released to the market, and either succeeded or failed in the market. This is only a piece of the puzzle and is easily muddied by failures in marketing, execution, changing consumer preferences, and external market factors that are wholly distinct from strategy and roadmapping.

    To assess the quality of, or score, Apple's strategy and roadmap you would have to see what did not survive Apple's strategic cuts. There is just as much to learn from the non-survivors as there is to learn from the survivors. Failure to consider non-survivors and focus solely on survivors is a common cognitive bias known as "survivorship bias."  This leads to overly optimistic or overly pessimistic assumptions due to the lack of visibility, and that's even before consideration for the possible other causes of failure previously mentioned.

    That’s a lot of words to say Apple had a failed product. 
    canukstorm
  • Reply 37 of 74
    CheeseFreezeCheeseFreeze Posts: 1,158member
    techno said:
    JWSC said:
    This article misses the boat a bit because most of us know that Apple will not discontinue support for the HomePod anytime soon.  What is disconcerting is Apple’s decision to cancel it does leave one with the impression that Apple is rudderless with regard to product development and support.  Apple does not appear to have a “product champion” assigned as an owner to each of their products.  That’s bad news when the VP of hardware engineer in clearly has his eye elsewhere.
    Exactly! Apple has a history of not following through on things like this. They start something and then put little to no effort into marketing it or developing it. As a customer, I am losing faith in their commitment to the products as opposed to the services revenue streams. The next cool thing Apple develops, I am going to stop myself from hopping aboard and ask myself "Will Apple give up on this in a few years?"

    That kind of mistrust does not bode well for buying an Apple Car. Why in the hell would I EVER consider buying a car from a company I think my abandon it in 5 years? I wouldn't!
    It’s the same with software. No one knows how highly Final Cut Pro X or Logic is prioritized. You don’t know their basic goals, milestones, nothing, and software like Final Cut Pro X doesn’t get updated with anything significantly for years now, whereas its competitors are.
    Look at how poorly they managed the transition from FCP7. They ruined their user base doing so.
    Another one: Apple Aperture, being really great and having had a lot of opportunity to become the leading app was suddenly shelved, leaving a completely flabbergasted community behind.

    Being a FCP user myself I see a lot of talks on forums with people looking to move to Resolve, because at least they constantly update it with considerable improvements, even though FCPX’s editing portion is more elegant.
    JWSCelijahg
  • Reply 38 of 74
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 497member
    I wonder if the same fate awaits the AirPods Max a few years from now. I bought them and like the APM a lot, but see similarities to the HomePod: a great product, but likely not "better" enough compared to top competitors to justify the much higher price tag to enough people. Despite their initial sell-out, Ming-Chi Kuo, arguably the top Apple analyst, estimates that the APM annual sales will only total 1% of all AirPods sales. 
    GeorgeBMaccanukstorm
  • Reply 39 of 74
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 497member
    thrang said:
    The issue with the HomePod wasn't the HomePod itself (though perhaps A8 was long in tooth), but the poor performance of Siri. At $349/299, your assistant better be the bee's knees...

    The HomePod sounds incredible, and a stereo pair is amazingly engaging for the size.

    At $99, you may get a little more slack.

    My concern is that this was part of a home invasion strategy that now seems less defined, less robust.

    However, if this is the precursor of a HP2, perhaps with mesh networking capabilities, or of Apple buying Sonos (I initially discounted this rumor, but the Sonos name, and the development and product already done completed (with Airplay 2), especially for sounders and 5.1 setups), it might be worth it for Apple. I own several HomePods as well as four zones of Sonos Amps/ HT setup)

    Was Beats "worth" $3bn though? There is a lot less buzz arounds Beats lately it seems...


    I have to agree about the lack of buzz for Beats. You'd think they'd do more to protect their $3B investment. And it's not like Apple doesn't know how to do marketing to keep a product line buzzy and trending. But now it's like they're content to let the Beats brand wither while AirPods get all the love. Note to Apple: next time you're planning on sticking your highest-end headphones in a case that looks like a profoundly uncool bra purse, please call the Beats design team to come over and stop you. 
  • Reply 40 of 74
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    JWSC said:
    JWSC said:
    This article misses the boat a bit because most of us know that Apple will not discontinue support for the HomePod anytime soon.  What is disconcerting is Apple’s decision to cancel it does leave one with the impression that Apple is rudderless with regard to product development and support.  Apple does not appear to have a “product champion” assigned as an owner to each of their products.  That’s bad news when the VP of hardware engineer in clearly has his eye elsewhere.
    No, it doesn't suggest that. It was around for 4 years. They decided to end it. I wish they hadn't, but it's not some sort of handwaving indictor of woe within Apple. Apple canceled products under Jobs as well. Just the result of internal discussion.
    You are making my point for me. The HomePod was around for four years and they did nothing with it during that time.  They let it languish just as they did with the trashcan MacPro and the beloved (sarcasm) Apple TV remote.  That should’ve never happened.

    Yes, a company's reputation counts.
    Abandoning a product is abandoning the people who invested their money into it.
    That shakes their confidence in the company and creates doubt in their mind whether to invest in the company's other products.

    Apple has survived quickly* obsoleting products because they have focused on high growth industries where technological advances obsolete products before they do.   But, as their markets mature, they will have less and less ability to do that on an ongoing basis.

    * Quickly is in the eye of the beholder:  My home theater system is 25 years old, my car is 22 years old and my laptop is 8 years old and all work well and serve my needs well -- I have no need or desire to spend money to modernize any of them.  Yet, everyone of them would be obsolete by Apple's standards.
    muthuk_vanalingamJWSCkiltedgreenelijahg
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