Apple has officially discontinued its original smart speaker. No more Apple HomePods will be made, and while the Apple Store still has stock available in White (opens in new tab), Space Grey units have already sold out.
The reasoning appears to be pretty simple: the cheaper HomePod mini offers sound quality that’s ‘good enough’ for most consumers, while costing a third of the price. It appears shoppers have voted with their wallets.
- Which $99 speaker wins? HomePod mini vs Amazon Echo
- Best smart speakers right now
- PLUS: OnePlus 9 — 5 biggest camera upgrades revealed
In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple explained that while it’s the end of the line for the HomePod, the mini version has an exciting future. “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,” the company said.
“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.”
In other words, if you do try and get one of the last HomePods Apple made, you should be well supported for the foreseeable future, but the question is whether you need one when the HomePod mini is so impressive.
As we wrote in our HomePod mini review, despite being roughly the size of an Echo Dot, it provides sound quality that beats the full sized Echo. No, it’s not as good as the incredible sound of the original HomePod and it loses the clever room sensing audio beam-forming tech, but most people would accept these sacrifices when you can buy three minis for the price of one full size HomePod.
In fact, at launch the HomePod was even more expensive, costing $349 before a $50 price drop made it a bit more competitive. That, along with the requirement that buyers already be firmly in the Apple ecosystem (you couldn’t even set it up without an iOS device), distinctly limited its mass appeal.
The smart features, too, were a little half baked out of the box, but a series of updates have improved the device, introducing multi-user support, individual voice recognition and the power to “hand off” audio from your iPhone to speaker, ensuring you don’t lose your place.
All of these features have been with the HomePod mini at launch, making it a far more compelling package. Combine that with the tempting price, and it’s no wonder that Apple is going all in on the smaller, cheaper version.
- More: The best noise cancelling headphones