Apple gives up on its original HomePod in favor of the $99 mini

Like the Google Home Max, Apple's pricey HomePod speaker will fade away without a direct replacement.

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Richard Lawler
March 13th, 2021
Apple HomePod

When Apple's HomePod debuted in 2018 as a $349 speaker that had a tendency to stain surfaces, it wasn't smart enough to match its audio quality or price. Software updates have helped address the intelligence issue and the price has dropped over time, but tonight TechCrunch reports confirmation from Apple that it will discontinue the original speaker.

In a statement, Apple confirmed software updates and tech support will continue for existing units, and "it will continue to be available while supplies last through the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers." The company said it will focus efforts instead on the HomePod mini, the $99 edition it released last fall that fits better as a competitor to offerings from Google and Amazon.

Apple Store
Apple Store

The overall arc is similar to Google's Home Max, which similarly ended its run — but is still available from Google via eBay for $190 — after smart speaker shoppers largely declined to pay premium prices for a speaker from a tech company. As TechCrunch notes, the HomePod's Space Gray edition is already sold out online and in some Apple Stores, although Best Buy and other retailers may have more units of the now-$300 speaker in stock.

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