Apple announced that it has discontinued the original HomePod and will focus its smart speaker efforts on the smaller and less expensive HomePod Mini.
“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,” an Apple statement notes. “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 original HomePod has been available for three years, but it was immediately in trouble and has never met expectations despite price cuts and numerous sales.
I have a few take-aways from this revelation.
Most obviously, not everything Apple touches turns to gold. As with the iPhone 12 Mini, there was an expectation, both inside and outside of the company, that just providing a high-end music option with an Apple logo on it to Apple’s customers would guarantee success. Nope. (And this isn’t even Apple’s first smart speaker failure: The firm introduced an iPod Hi-Fi in 2006 and killed that off just a year later.)
Second, it appears that no company can compete with Sonos in the premium smart speaker market. Apple isn’t the first smart assistant maker to fail in trying to do so: Google discontinued its Home Max smart speaker in December, and Samsung’s Galaxy Home, announced in August 2018, wasn’t even released.
Third, this is an important reminder to everyone here wringing their hands over the removal of Cortana from the Invoke smart speaker that Microsoft and Google aren’t the only Big Tech companies that unceremoniously cancel products that some customers love, regardless of how high-profile the launch was. HomePod was revealed in a “one last thing” celebration of music and technology three years ago, with Apple promising to “reinvent home music” with this “breakthrough home speaker.” But Apple quietly revealed that it had killed off the product late on a Friday night to avoid lots of press. In with a bang, out with a whimper.
Tagged with Apple HomePod