In February of 2018, Apple launched the HomePod smart speaker. We bought one immediately, and then added another one as soon as HomePods could be linked in stereo. The price was $350 each. Our old stereo system had well-reviewed components that cost a lot more, but didn’t sound as good as the HomePods. We absolutely love the convenience of just asking for the playlist we want. Here’s our setup in the living room.
About three years later, Apple stopped producing the HomePod, and instead introduced the $99 HomePod Mini. It was a fraction of the cost, and a fraction of the sound quality.
As of February 3rd, 2023, the full size HomePod is back!
The new HomePod (second generation) looks like the original HomePod, but there are some differences. The lighted display now covers the whole top, and the dark color is “Midnight” black instead of a dark gray. Inside is Apple’s S7 chip with “enhanced Siri”. The new HomePod has the same size woofer, but five tweeters instead of seven, and 4 microphones instead of six. It would be hard to believe that the 2nd generation of HomePods could possibly sound better. The original has impressive bass, and balanced midrange & treble, without distortion, even at high volume. Most reviews say the original and the new HomePods sound nearly identical.
We mainly use our HomePods to play our entire music collection we have stored on iTunes, but HomePods can also serve as a hub for smart home devices. By the way, the white covers on our 5-year-old HomePods look as good as the day we got them.
The price of the new HomePod is $299, which is the same price they eventually used for the original HomePod. It’s surprising the price isn’t a bit lower, since price seemed to be the biggest concern in the past. Maybe Apple hopes that since a lot of people have experienced the HomePod Mini, they may be ready to move up to the excellent sound of the full size model.