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 first 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. 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.
Want a speaker for your office that pumps out premium sound and offers Bluetooth streaming or voice control? Here are your best options from all the big players, including Sonos, Bose, Google, Apple, and Amazon. The smaller speaker is more affordable, with a $99 price tag, and smaller than the original HomePod. It goes on sale Nov. 6 and will start shipping Nov. 16. Apple still leverages Siri, along with several new software updates and improvements, including the ability to play music from third-party services like Spotify, instead of being limited to Apple Music as has been the case since its launch in 2018.
Fun fact: Microsoft Office's Clippy was among the first smart assistants made widely available to consumers. That same technology has since meandered over into the world of audio, where internet-connected speakers are now capable of pairing with other devices and being controlled by a listener's voice. With more and more electronics companies dipping their toes into the smart speaker marketplace to meet surging public demand, there are a lot of options for consumers to consider. But it's a newcomer that's got everyone else beat in terms of sound quality and high-tech features: the Apple HomePod. Introduced less than a year ago, the compact HomePod boasts the latest in audio technology.
It's the holidays, which means everyone is overwhelmed with all the "deals" available. There are so many that, at times, you've probably wondered whether they really are good bargains. Well, we have one for you that truly is a sale worth checking out. And the best part is it's an Apple device. Apple is notoriously stingy when it comes to discounting its products.
Having a compact portable speaker is great and all, but having a compact portable speaker that can adjust its own sound depending on where you take it is even better. Apple's Homepod is the first speaker that tunes itself. Using spatial awareness, it recognizes the dimensions of its location and adjusts the sound based on what's needed. Because of this, vocals and instruments are directed towards the middle of the room while ambient sound is projected and bounced off the sides. Your whole room will be full of rich sound.