Why the HomePod? That’s a good question. It’s a piece of Apple history, perhaps; you need two of them for stereo or more for whole-home audio; and unlike its more affordable successor the HomePod Mini, it’s acoustically quite good. My colleague Jen Tuohy has also explained that the smart home is one of the few places where Siri actually excels. She thinks people are realizing it’s the only other option besides the worse-sounding HomePod Mini.
Siri is.. not bad on the iPhone either? Or the Watch? Possibly this is because people do want a good-sounding speaker and are willing to spend a little more because they aren’t finding what they want. (Marco Arment complained about this on the most recent ATP podcast.) How ironic if the big HomePod finds its market only after being discontinued, like Sony’s AIBO robot dog.
While living in my sister’s guest room during the pandemic I decided to take a flyer on an OG HomePod. They dropped to a more reasonable $299 and I was tired of listening to things on tinny speakers. I knew from hard earned experience that Sonos was not the way to go. I was in the Apple ecosystem, so it seemed a better investment than another Sonos disappointment or the tin-can-on-a-string acoustics of an Amazon device.
Two key items, both unexpected, sold me on the platform: it sounded good and crisp at low volumes (important as my nieces’ rooms were on either side of mine) and the Siri integration proved more useful than expected. My Siri & HomePod journey has not been without frustration and doubt, however.
Today I have a stereo pair in my family room for home theater audio from my Apple TV. The lesser HomePod minis are in my living room and bedroom for low stakes audio. When I need real sound upstairs, I have my actual stereo setup with wired speakers that plays actual physical media. Before I got the second pair of Minis I looked on eBay for the OGs. They were already at what I’d consider a premium in January. I almost bought another pair when they went end-of-sale, but I had other priorities. I kind of wish I had now, but speculating on what tech becomes lamented and prized is a fool’s errand.