Apple is putting away its original smart speaker, HomePod, and will instead put its energy in the smaller version, the HomePod Mini. That’s what the Cupertino, Calif.-Based tech company told TechCrunch, noting that the speaker will continue to be supported, but the HomePod Mini will be the smart speaker it produces. in the future.
It’s the second high-end device that Apple quietly put aside last week, with the first the iMac Pro, a $ 4,999 desktop computer. Now the HomePod, which debuted in 2017 and hit the market in 2018 at $ 349, joins the iMac Pro and will only be sold while supplies last, according to Apple’s website. (The color space gray is already sold out.)
Apple will continue to sell the HomePod Mini for $ 99
HomePod vs the other guys
HomePod was Apple’s first foray into a dedicated standalone smart speaker, more than three years after Amazon launched the Amazon Echo speaker for its Alexa voice assistant, and more than a year after Google launched the Google Home speaker for its Google Assistant. HomePod was a space for Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, which debuted on the iPhone 4s in 2011.
The HomePod’s price came as a shock, even when Apple dropped it to $ 299, significantly higher than most smart speakers from Amazon and Google – although very much in line with the premium speaker from Google, the Google Home Max, which launched around the same time at $ 399. But Apple, which is never stranger to putting a high price on its products, cited not only the speaker design, but also the quality of the tweeters and woofers. The HomePod, while a home for Siri, was then classified more for its use as a high-end audio device – and less as a way for Apple users to ask the voice assistant of turn the lights off.
Google and Amazon quickly continued down this path, with Google focusing in particular on high-end speakers like the Nest Audio, but at a much more user-friendly price tag of $ 99. Apple has also started going the mini-route, as well as a cheaper route, launching the new HomePod Mini in 2020 for $ 99, still focusing on sound, but now at a price point more in line with its competition.
Apple put a lot of emphasis on the quality of the original HomePod speakers and how it contained seven tweeters and a subwoofer when it launched.
HomePod Mini vs HomePod
Apple also updated the HomePod in 2020. And while the HomePod Mini differs from the updated HomePod in size and price, there are a few features that separate the two. The HomePod Mini relies on the S5 chip inside to optimize sound quality, while the HomePod is built with more dedicated physical elements, including an array of microphones, for its sound.
Both devices use Siri for voice support, both can leverage HomeKit for smart device control, and both can use features like using the speakers as an intercom.
But when it comes to the HomePod versus the HomePod Mini, Apple seems to be saying the smaller, cheaper version is the direction it wants to focus on right now. HomePod will continue to receive software updates, and will also be eligible for support through AppleCare. Those keen to pick up the HomePod can still go to Apple’s website, in white only, “while supplies last,” Apple says.