Apple’s HomePod has struggled to impress potential buyers, so it’s not surprising that rumors say Apple may be looking to sunset the smart speaker.
Taking a cue from its critics, Apple may replace the existing HomePod with a smaller and lower-priced version.
Though we don’t have a date for the debut of this HomePod mini, new rumors suggest the new smart speaker is arriving sooner rather than later.
An earlier rumor suggested Apple was selling off its HomePod by offering it to employees at a discount with a limit of two per person.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple allegedly is now allowing employees to purchase up to ten HomePod units at half price.
Best Buy also is looking to clear its existing inventory of HomePods with a sale that takes $100 off the price tag. This $199 out-the-door price is the lowest ever on the smart speaker. It only has been offered a few times by Best Buy in the past several months.
Best Buy isn’t the only retailer clearing the HomePod off its shelves. Apple also is moving around its inventory with the HomePod going in and out of stock over the past week.
Apple launched the HomePod in 2018 for $349 but dropped the price to $299 when sales reportedly lagged behind expectations. Apple never disclosed exact sales, opting instead to group the speaker into its “Wearables, Home, and Accessories” category, which includes its AirPods and Apple Watch.
Analysts who follow that category of devices believe interest in the HomePod was low. Critics point to the high price tag of the speaker and its limited functionality as reasons for its low adoption rates.
The smart speaker market is dominated by Amazon Echo and Google Home, both of which integrate into Amazon and Google’s ecosystem, respectively. The speakers are significantly less expensive than the HomePod, with prices as low as $25. Amazon and Google also have robust virtual assistants that allow you to control your home, plan your schedule, shop online, and much more.