Apple pulls the OG HomePod plug to 'focus' on the more popular HomePod mini
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Apple isn't exactly known for taking unnecessary risks on emerging technologies and immature product categories, but even by those standards, the company's rookie smart speaker effort came a little late to market, going on sale more than three years after Amazon's first-gen Echo.
By the time the $350 HomePod was commercially released, the unexpectedly popular OG Echo had already received a direct sequel, as well as multiple spin-offs of various sizes, prices, and form factors. Of course, none of Amazon's Alexa-controlled smart speakers (or even smart displays) were quite as costly as Apple's high-end Siri-powered device, and the same went for the "regular" Google Home, which also managed to beat the HomePod to global stores all the way back in 2016.
Add to all that Apple's inexplicable inability to release a lower-cost or at least a second-gen HomePod edition until just last fall, and it's certainly no big surprise that the Cupertino-based tech giant failed to provide any sort of meaningful competition for Amazon and Google in the fast-growing smart speaker industry over the years.
But now that the $100 HomePod mini is finally here, it's also far from shocking to see Apple's sales numbers surging around the world... and the OG HomePod discontinued. Shortly after the 2017-unveiled and 2018-released premium smart speaker ominously went out of stock on the company's official US website in a Space Gray color, Apple confirmed in a statement to TechCrunch that the device has indeed reached its end-of-life status.
As the company shift its focus entirely to the hot-selling HomePod mini, the full-sized model will continue to be available "while supplies last" through the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers.
That means you may want to hurry and order the white flavor directly from its manufacturer at a $299 list price while you can... or wait and hope that the likes of Best Buy will bring back their highest discounts to date in the form of clearance sales. Said retailer charged a measly $199.99 for a brand-new HomePod unit in both white and gray paint jobs almost a year ago, mind you, and although there are obviously no guarantees, we fully expect similar (if not better) deals to be offered again in the near future.
In case you're wondering, Apple is promising to continue providing HomePod customers with "software updates and service and support through Apple Care", so at the right price, this can still be a smart purchase for Siri fans interested in a superior sound experience compared to what the Mini is supposed to offer.