Apple currently sells the Homepod Mini to compete with other popular smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Nest, but this wasn’t their first attempt. Back in 2018, Apple released the original HomePod, which they promised would reinvent music in our homes, but demand for the product was so low that it was eventually taken off the market completely.
So why did Apple discontinue Home pod while the number one problem was its price? Early smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home were $99. But Home Pod debuted at $349 the same price as Apple’s ill fated iPod Hifi speaker system, which was discontinued in 2007 after just two years. But technically, Apple wasn’t competing with cheap smart speakers. Instead, they were taking on the likes of Sonos One priced at $200 and Google Home Max. Priced at 400, these did offer great sound quality, but didn’t sell as quickly as their $100 counterparts. Now HomePod fared well against these higher priced speakers with reviewers praising its acoustic calibration system, accurate bass and clever microphone array, but customers made it clear in 2007 that premium sound quality wasn’t necessarily worth the premium price, and they reiterated that point in 2018 when home Pod was released.
It didn’t perform like Apple expected. Only 600,000 units were sold in its first quarter. Compare that to Homepod Mini, which sold almost 2.2 million units in the same period. It’s clear why users prefer the mini, it offered the same functionality as the original home pod at a much lower price and as for the inferior sound quality, users felt like it was good enough and sometimes good enough is all that’s needed to offer customers the best value, because after Homepod Mini was released in 2021, Apple’s share of the smart speaker market grew from 8% to almost 18%, overtaking Google in quarterly sales for the first time ever. So if Apple is serious about selling Smart speakers it makes sense to invest their resources in what’s working and discontinuing what isn’t.