Apple has announced that they are discontinuing their original HomePod, four years after its release. It said that it will continue to focus and produce the HomePod mini, which was introduced sometime last year. The larger one offered more sound space, but the mini version has been more widely accepted as it can complete the necessary tasks than the bigger version too.
The original version was an audio engineering feat that Apple spent more than five years developing. To accomplish this, the Apple team built out an entire development center near its HQ at Cupertino, with a fully-functional, world-class development center that contained many anechoic chambers. Apple took it to the next level with a complex set of woofers and tweeters.
The center is a highly coveted one and is the company’s largest test chamber. It is also one of the biggest in the country, and is cut off from the outside world so that nothing pollutes the audio purity test. These chambers also allow Apple to mitigate any issues that can arise from a high excursion subwoofer in such small cabinets. There are even smaller chambers that allow them to isolate any form of hums from electronic components as well!
Last year Apple had announced the release of the HomePod in a video directed by director Spike Jonze:
Reasons for the discontinuation:
One of the major reasons the speaker was discontinued was for its expensive price, set at $349. This kept it at the high-end of the home speaker market, especially for those with embedded home assistants. The price drop of $299 somewhat mitigated this, but still, put it at the top of the price points. The mini version, however, retailed at just $99 and still gave remarkably excellent sound.
Apple said that they were focussing more on efforts to improve the Mini version. The original HomePod will be available till supplies last at Apple Retail Stores, the Online Store, Apple Apple Authorized Resellers, and more. Apple said they would also provide HomePod customers with the necessary updates via Apple Care.
Apple looks to bet more on the mini for the near future and expects that the device will provide good enough sound rather than unbelievable output. The HomePod never quite got to a level where it could replace the home theatre experience. The production efforts and research will live on via Apple’s advanced audio rendering systems that also led to spatial audio in their flagship AirPods.