The original HomePod, introduced in 2018, was Apple's second attempt (after the iPod Hi-Fi) at creating a high-fidelity speaker. However, this time, rather than using an iPod as the controller, Apple went voice-first with Siri as the primary interface.
At US$299 (US$349 at launch), it was expensive and had limited functionality. But, it sounded great, and as a wireless speaker for Apple Music, it was exceptional. In addition, pairing two HomePods to create a Stereo Pair allows you to emulate Dolby Atmos when used with AppleTV’s Theater Mode feature.
HomePod allows you to stream audio from any AirPlay-compatible device, supporting AirPlay 2 with multi-speaker (and implicitly, multi-room) syncing of audio. However, this is the only way to stream audio from another device; Bluetooth streaming is not supported.
When used as a HomeKit Hub, HomePod supports Bluetooth and WiFi connections. In addition, it can use BlueTooth to talk directly to HomeKit accessories, acting as a bridge to your local network.
After three years with no hardware updates, Apple discontinued the HomePod shortly after introducing the HomePod Mini.
In more recent months, there have been reports of HomePods emitting a popping sound and then failing to work at all. Now they are discontinued and no longer sold by Apple, they are not only hard to find but will have — at best — a one-year warranty. Unfortunately, reports are that Apple cannot supply replacements, regardless of warranty status.
As someone who bought an original HomePod on day one and now owns three, I use them every day as my primary TV speakers on two different TVs, as well as for music. I have had zero issues beyond some inconsistent responses with the latest updates.
At this stage in their life-cycle, my primary concerns are falling foul of the "popping" issue or Apple choosing to discontinue supporting them. Having said that, unless Apple releases a similar replacement, I will continue to use them for as long as I can.
Processor: Apple A8
AirPlay 2: Supported
Six microphones + One for bass correction
Seven speakers + One Woofer
Power: 100-240V AC
- Great Sound
- Stereo Pair Support with Atmos
- Still receiving software updates from Apple
- AirPlay 2 Support
- Multi-room synced audio
- Discontinued in 2021
- Replacement stock is low
- Unidentified "popping" issue breaking devices entirely
- Slower than other HomeKit Hubs to respond with latest updates
- No Bluetooth support for playing music
- Expensive, even at US$299
The original HomePod was the original HomeKit Hub, with great sound. However, they are showing their age and are mostly unavailable since they have been discontinued. Apple pricing at US$399 was always expensive, but with availability limited and primarily only on the second-hand market, expect to pay far more than that, even for used devices. Supports WiFi and Bluetooth.