Opinion: There has never been a better time to buy the original HomePod, but Apple has shipped it to the Glu factory. To me, while this is certainly a huge mistake in the present, it also gives some hints on Apple’s future plans.
When Apple launched its original HomePod speaker in 2018, we liked the great sound and sleek design, but at £ 340 (now £ 279) it didn’t tick all the boxes. It was not exactly a one-trick prick pony compared to the best smart speaker rivals Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa offered, but its bow did not have much strings. Originally, unless you had an iPhone, used Apple Music, and relied on HomeKit Smart Home Gear, Apple’s Smart Speaker was not for you.
By all accounts, it was not sold well, especially when the £ 100 HomePod Mini came in a reasonably perfect course with a dinkier design that touted its weight for sound quality and new to smart home Thread networking technology offered.
For example, in March, Apple confirmed that it was discontinuing the original HomePod and only selling it until stock lasts. Some reports claimed that the rest of these devices may have been from the original production run, casting a dim view on the sales figures Apple never confirmed. Some people were surprised that he was taking a quick shower.
Old dog, new tricks
But then things started happening. Good things. Great things.
In the past one or two weeks, the first-gen HomePod has gained a new lease on life. It is positively coming out of the grave. First, we learned that when paired with the new Apple TV 4K, the HomePod 2018 can handle any audio associated with the television set. Whether it is the next generation game console, 4K Blu-ray player, A / V receiver or TV itself. Not a bad trick. Essentially it becomes a soundbar of a different size.
This is a very big thing, especially when you think that two HomePods can be combined to create stereo sound. One more you are sorted at each end of the tele. Even better, the original HomePod has already received an update to support Dolby Atmos (the Mini does not). Suddenly, if you have one or two HomePods, you have an immersive home cinema system with en vogue 360-degree sound.
Speaking of Dolby Atmos, Apple recently announced that Apple Music will soon be pumping out Dolby Atmos tracks for the same HomePods. If that wasn’t enough, Apple confirmed that it would update its original HomePod and HomePod Mini to support the new Apple Music Lossless Tier, to be launched in June.
Sound comes directly from a Wi-Fi connection, rather than a Bluetooth link to headphones or speakers from the phone, the HomePod range is one of the few Apple devices that will directly support CD-quality without the need for external digital. As going between the analog converter, and with the quality of the speaker enables listeners to really hear the benefit. This is not a perk owners of the fancy new AirPods Max Over-Ear Headphones will receive despite their £ 500+ outlay.
HomePod 2 signal?
So, you see, HomePod is getting better by the week, and who knows what else is to come? Why is Apple abandoning its first smart speaker in the same way as it is showing its true quality? That answer, I suspect, is more forthcoming than what has already come.
My feeling is that it is more of a time issue; That Apple plans to replace the original HomePod with the HomePod 2, which claims all of these qualities and probably much more. Then, the original HomePod could naturally outrun either, knowing that its true successor took over Mantle.
Apple VP Tim Twerdahl recently reiterated to Mobile Syrup that the company is “committed to making great audio products for the home.” This shows that there is more to come. A recent report by Bloomberg stated that Apple is working on a ubiquitous HomePod slash iPad for starters. Twerdahl is saying “the product” gives us hope that we’ll get an official HomePod 2 with a full-size speaker featuring Dolby Atmos, Apple Music Lossless, Apple Music Spacial Audio, Apple TV 4K audio passthrough and a more acceptable price point .
However, until this happens, we cannot help thinking that Apple is in a little hurry. The original HomePod is coming as a tremendous companion to some of Apple’s latest products and most exciting technologies. It has never looked like a better tool.