According to TechCrunch, Apple has discontinued the original HomePod. The website quotes an unnamed Apple representative as stating that the company is "focusing our efforts on HomePod Mini".
Not only is this a disappointing development – the HomePod is one of the very best-sounding wireless speakers you can buy, after all – it also seems a little bit peculiar. Does a company as resource-rich as Apple really need to discontinue one product in order to focus on another? Surely not. Similarly, a single smart speaker surely isn't adequate for a company the size of Apple when so many rivals are producing whole families of similar devices.
We'd be tempted to guess that the four year-old HomePod is really making way for a new model (Apple is strongly rumoured to be hosting a launch event of some kind at the end of this month), but Apple doesn't usually discontinue a product before its replacement is announced.
Perhaps the intention was to replace the HomePod in March and Apple has wound-down production, but the replacement has had to be pushed back to later in the year. Whatever the full story is, we can't help but think that something's in the works.
According to the TechCrunch story, Apple will continue to sell the original HomePod until stock runs dry and is promising to offer support for the HomePods already sold. Whether that includes new feature updates and the like remains to be seen.
It wasn't long ago that Apple added its Intercom feature to the original HomePod and gave it the ability to handle Dolby Atmos sound from the Apple TV 4K, making today's news even more surprising.
If we were the betting sort, we'd bet that this is just the start of a hiatus for the HomePod, and that it will rise again in a new form at a later date. As soon as we hear anything on that front, we'll report back.
Read our Apple HomePod review
Should you consider the Mini? Check out our HomePod Mini review
How HomePod was made: a tale of obsession from inside Apple’s audio labs
Looking for an alternative? Here are the best wireless speakers
That’s a strange story
The Home Pod Mini at 99 pounds has been outselling the 299 pounds Home Pod exponentially, and operationally the cheaper model is superior. So for actual customers sound quality is not the be all and end all for such a lifestyle device.
Apple are not wilfully stupid, if at first they appear to be.