Why Apple's big HomePod gets a second chance


Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing associate Alice Chan recently spoke to Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in extensive interviews about the smart speaker. Gonny van der Zwaag | iCulture.nl – 3 February 2023, 13:34 whatsappfacebooktwittertelegramlinkedinmailprint

Apple has relaunched the large HomePod, in much the same form and for the same price. But why exactly? Apple sent two employees for an interview, to Men's Journal and TechCrunch, respectively, to explain why the reintroduction makes sense, according to Apple. They are Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing associate Alice Chan.

Apple discontinued the original large HomePod in March 2021, after market research repeatedly gave the impression that sales were not so good. However, Chan said that people have been “more interested than ever” have shown for a larger speaker with better sound. Perhaps the order of market introduction also plays a role: Apple might have been better off first releasing the small HomePod mini to get people excited about the product, and then releasing a larger model with better audio quality.

Chan confirmed that Apple had not originally planned to re-release the large HomePod. But now that the decision has been made to bring it back, Apple will put what it learned from the earlier models into practice. What this entails and what exactly has been learned, however, remains a mystery.

The second-generation HomePod only differs from the earlier model in details. It is slightly smaller and has a larger LED touchscreen on the top. But those are not factors that will convince users now. The fact that Apple has stuck to the current design, according to Castello, has to do with the fact that the internal teams love this shape. According to Costello, WiFi 4 is not a step backwards either, but exactly what you need to make everything work properly. Plus, it also consumes little energy.

Naturally, Costello also faced a few critical questions, including the fact that you can't make a stereo pair from the first and second generation HomePod. According to him, this has to do with the fact that the audio characteristics must match exactly. Also, through Castello, Apple speaks for the first time about the audio quality of the second-generation HomePod:

The new HomePod delivers immersive, room-filling sound that users love – with even more detail, clarity and layers than the original HomePod.

Incidentally, we disagree in our review:

From our test, we found the first generation HomePod to sound a lot better. The sound is not only slightly brighter on the predecessor, but also a bit louder and the bass rumbles deeper. So there is indeed a difference in how both speakers sound and that was also to be expected with the changed interior. However, you will only hear this difference if you put the two speakers next to each other and compare them directly.

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Review: HomePod 2023, the big Apple speaker in the rematch

In this HomePod 2023 review from iCulture you can read about our experiences with Apple's latest Siri speaker. Will the return of the large HomePod be a success? How is the sound quality compared to the first version and what else is striking about the new model? You can read it in our extensive HomePod 2023 test!

Apple did not want to say anything about the HomePod mini in either interview, such as sales figures and future plans. All Apple wanted to say about it was that the speaker “popular” is. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a renewed HomePod mini will be launched in the course of 2024.

The second generation HomePod is available for sale in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Netherlands from todayë and several other countries. It costs €349 each and is available in black and white. Also read our HomePod 2023 review with listening experiences and more.

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