Apple announced they are discontinuing the original HomePod, and I’m sad to see it go. I thought it was a good time to look back on the last 3 years of writing about the HomePod and see how things held up. After all, it’s not often I get to look back on my writing that covers the entire history of a product!
Apple is surely going to do a better job of marketing the HomePod than Sonos has done with their speakers, but I’m still skeptical of their ability to make people care that much about incredible sound quality.
I actually overestimated the marketing angle here. Sonos continues to be the major name in this space and HomePod never really broke through.
Apple should introduce a new model of HomePod, the HomePod mini. They by no means need to make a device to compete directly with the $50 (and less on sale) Echo Dot and Google Home Mini), but they need to get something more affordable out there.
I continue to be amazed how close I was on this article.
So while I like the HomePod and think it is a good product in its own right, I just don’t feel that same magic that I was hoping I would. I’m looking forward to see what other people think, but if my response is at all indicative of the average Joe, I don’t know if the HomePod will grow to the level of adoration (and by extent, sales) of AirPods.
Narrator: it didn’t.
The HomePod sounds amazing. I don’t know much about sound quality and the most expensive pair of speakers I ever owned cost $99, so this sounds way, way better than everything I had in my apartment. I did take it over to my parents’ house and compared it to a $500 Bose Soundtouch 30 and I thought it sounded better than that too (my dad disagreed, but said it was close).
The above graphic is as close as I can get to succinctly stating who this is for. If you are an iOS-only user and if you subscribe to Apple Music and if you care more about audio quality than a robust digital assistant, then the HomePod is for you. That sounds a little harsh, but I think it’s accurate.
Narrator: it was.
When I set up my HomePods as a stereo pair, I was immediately in love. Some people say that the 3D sound stuff Apple is doing makes stereo unnecessary, but that’s a load of garbage. Setting up two HomePods to output in stereo is wonderful, and blew me away with the sound quality improvement.
I still feel this way. That same stereo pair is in my living room and I love it. Apple recently made it easier to keep them permanently paired with an Apple TV, and they’re great! I still wish they had an AUX port so they could work with anything for decades down the road, software updates or not.