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Apple to halt production of its HomePod smart speaker

17 March 2021
Apple will instead focus on the lower priced HomePod Mini and will no longer produce the larger HomePod. Source: Apple

Since the inception of the smart home market with the introduction of Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker, there have been periods of consolidation, attrition and acquisition, but nothing compares to the report that Apple Inc. will discontinue its HomePod smart speaker.

The move comes just four years after Apple entered the smart speaker market to compete against the likes of Google and Amazon as well as the multitude of other smart assistants that have emerged in the past five years.

Apple told TechCrunch that it will continue to produce and focus on the HomePod Mini, which it introduced last year.

“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 $99,” Apple said in a statement. “We are focusing our efforts on 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 Apple Care.”

While Apple will focus more on the cheaper version of its smart speaker, the market for these devices is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1%, according to International Data Corp (IDC). IDC forecasts smart speaker shipments will rise to 203.9 million units by 2024, up from 133.7 million units in 2020.

IDC said the steady decline in prices for smart speakers has led to this continued growth, however, the category will continue to face challenges as smart speaker functionality gets incorporated into other device types and replacement rates continue to elongate. This includes porting smart speaker functionality to anything from light bulbs to toasters and hairdryers.

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