Apple HomePod takes the last dance, rescinding its interesting features

Apple’s original HomePod smart speaker was introduced in 2018. Four years down the line, Apple has now discontinued the premium smart speaker with the tech giant choosing to focus on the smaller version, HomePod Mini. While the discontinuation has been confirmed by the company, those interested can still grab the smart speaker until stock last.

“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 INR 9900. 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 AppleCare,” Apple said in a statement.

To recall, Apple HomePod Mini was launched in 2020 and has been a hit since its debut, as per Apple. The original HomePod, however, couldn’t grab much attention (especially) because of the expensive price tag and cheaper competitors from Amazon and Google. With Apple choosing to put its effort into the audio quality of its devices, the discontinuation of HomePod likely suggests product refresh in the coming future.

While the original HomePod takes its last dance, we rescind some of its interesting features

Apple’s original HomePod now doubt offered premium audio quality, but it had few interesting features up its sleeves. Besides the basic functionality of streaming music, the HomePod could send intercom messages across the hallway, bedroom, and kitchen (throughout your home). The use of custom equaliser settings for each song (with Apple Music) was another delight. The software updates brought the ability to trigger Siri shortcuts on the HomePod. With the iOS 14 update, Apple allowed third party-apps like Pandora to be set as default service on HomePod.

A few other interesting features include- ‘discrete accessibility’ feature, Handoff, multi-room, and stereo audio support that arrived with iOS 14.4 update. While smart speakers from the rivals have accessibility features for the disabled, Apple’s smart speaker is said to be more refined due to its ‘depth assistive technologies,’ premium sound quality, and integration with Apple’s ecosystem. Another practical aspect of the HomePod was Handoff that allowed users to place the iPhone near the HomePod for automatic transfer of music to the speaker.

While the HomePod offered the usual functions be it reading/replying to Messages, setting timers, alarms, playing podcasts, or music directly from the iPhone, it had some nifty technology on the inside as well. Its premium price tag did put Apple’s smart speaker in a bitter competition, however, the HomePod’s accessibility features and high-quality sound took an edge over its rivals. Notably, some of these features are available on the HomePod mini version. Apple’s original HomePod is currently listed on Apple Store India website for a price of Rs 19,900.

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