23 March 2021
UPDATE (June 14th, 2021):
Exactly three months after the discontinuation announcement, the original HomePod is now listed as out of stock on the official online Apple Store. The listing can be seen for both White and Black color options. It seems like the company has sold out the stock that it had remaining. It is safe to assume the first-generation Apple smart speaker is closer than ever to its demise.
Original (March 15th, 2021)
Apple has officially discontinued the original HomePod smart speaker. It will continue to be sold in the market until the stocks last but the company will not be producing any more new units. The decision to discontinue the product was first reported by TechCrunch that also claimed that Apple will be focusing on the HomePod Mini for now.
The original HomePod was launched in 2018 after being under development for about five years. It was appreciated for its superior audio quality as compared to other smart speakers in the market. However, there were also two drawbacks: limited support for Siri and quite an expensive pricing. It is the latter aspect that refrained many users from purchasing the smart speaker and as a result, it announced a smaller version named HomePod Mini.
This new offering is smaller in size but yet delivers impressive audio quality. It is also quite affordable at a price tag of $99 which makes it fall within the budget of more users. Apple has also acknowledged that the Mini proved to be a huge success right from the time of the launch. It seems like that is the reason the company wants to focus on the smaller model.
Here is the official statement released by Apple:
"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. We are focusing our efforts on the 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."
Whenever companies discontinue a product, it usually happens when either there is a new successor model available in the market or it is at least under the pipeline with a launch close. There have not been any rumors of Apple working on a new HomePod version but if something surfaces anywhere, we will make sure to keep you posted.