HomePod 2 - first reviews start to show up

The first review I have seen was just published via www.faz.net, a big German newspaper:

English via Google Translate:
Ab Freitag im Handel: So klingt der neue Homepod 2 von Apple (www-faz-net.translate.goog)

EDIT: For some reason I was not aware that this article is behind their paywall. Sorry for that.

The review went live with the headline: “The young Homepod and many old problems”.

The Homepods 2 behaved as bitchy as their predecessors, they were sometimes unavailable, did not respond to Siri commands to start music playback or stopped playing suddenly. Again and again the error message comes up that more than one device wants to play music. To do this, however, you have to choose a family subscription. Apple suspects problems in our Homekit environment as root cause (for our issues). As a test, we switched off all the Homepods in the house and then only activated the two Homepods 2 that we had linked into a stereo pair. This allowed them to operate with significantly fewer problems.

Regarding the HomePod 2 itself:

I have the impression that the speakers are almost perfectly tuned to rock and pop, the music sounded very lively and filled the living room very casually. There is nothing to criticize there. Do the new ones sound better? Hardly, they have somewhat more precise and concise basses, was our impression, nothing booms. Judging by the app’s volume level bar, the old Homepods are louder than the new ones. (…)

Although Apple has slimmed down the hardware of the new Homepods, the sound of rock and pop remains convincing, confident and good. Anyone who listens in this direction will certainly be satisfied. Lovers of great classics with powerful stage performances will not give up their conventional floorstanding speakers and hi-fi system for the Homepods 2.

The side jobs of the Homepods are interesting: They can be used as hands-free devices for telephony, play synthetic soundscapes that have now been revised, such as rain splashing, forest noises or the sound of the sea. “Hey Siri, play ocean sounds in the bedroom” is the command and you can combine the whole thing with a sleep timer. The Homepods then allow intercom use to send a voice message to everyone in the house in every room and, with an announced software update, they can also send alarm messages from the house to the iPhone when you’re out and about.

EDIT: I should have waited a bit longer until I published this German review.

Now the usual suspects have published their reviews, too:


In many cases the first Homepod was available for £249 rather than the £349 list price in the UK, so the new pricing seems too high. As some of the reviews have said. Why do Apple think that this new product will succeed where the old one failed when the price hasn’t been significantly reduced?


“The review says that customers considering the HomePod need to have an iPhone, subscribe to Apple Music, and are building a smart home. Otherwise, the product doesn’t make sense at that price. . . . And the lack of alternate inputs or even Bluetooth isn’t ideal.”

I have an original HomePod and a mini and I agree with you and MKB. The sound is great on the original HomePod but Siri’s not very good on either device.

This speaker is a device for the faithful that already subscribe to Apple Music. My HomePods were gifts and I will enjoy them both for as long as they last, but I won’t be purchasing any new ones.

For those considering these new speakers I’d suggest waiting until BestBuy, etc. starts discounting them before making any purchases. If that doesn’t happen in the next few months Apple might have a winner.

Also noting that the IKEA bookshelf speakers ARE Sonos speakers, at a much lower price. I have no idea how they stack up sound-wise, but you can put your hands on a pair of the IKEA speakers for less than a single HomePod.

Gave my mother one for Christmas.

She used a Play:1 and a One to listen to radio, and I thought she could use one additional unit for another room. When I went to IKEA, they had a promotion or something, and I was like “I’ll just pick one up. At least it can double as a small light somewhere. And if mum doesn’t like it at all, maybe I’ll just keep it myself and put it in some fugly corner at my own place or something…” Was really unsure about its the (the Symfonisk lamp’s) design, and if another Sonos would make for a good gift at all.

Turns out she absolutely loves the thing and immediately put it as a centrepiece of her living room.

It’s in great part because of the multicoloured smart bulb I put in though, I guess :slightly_smiling_face: Without that, she would maybe just consider it a boring lamp with a speaker. But with the white translucent lampshade, it actually makes for a great splash of colour, especially when at dark.

Ummm do you have a Link???

I just watched Marqes Brownlee’s review where he was puzzled about why Apple would bother releasing the big HomePod 2 given that it’s more or less the same as the HomePod 1, which can’t have been a commercial success.

There’s are two good reasons, that may send some of you crazy:

  1. Most people will look at the very high price of HomePod, then look at the low price of the HomePod mini and think it is, by comparison, a bargain and buy it.

It’s called “Price Anchoring”, and it’s how the real world works, and if you don’t think it works on you because you’re rational … you’re probably wrong.

  1. A few people will look at the homepod mini, want the more prestigious and expensive version and happily buy it because they feel they’re worth it.

Adding a 2nd or 3rd option at a higher price point tends to push up total sales revenue.

That was, most likely, the #1 job adding the AppleWatch Ultra did for apple as a business.


To your point here in the states you could ALWAYS find one on sale for $250. I bought two for myself and one as a gift over the span of a couple of years and paid the sale price each time.

1 Like

But that was after they flopped at $350, right? My impression was that Apple realized they’d made a pricing boo-boo, and aggressively discounted it to clear inventory.

The original HomePod stumbled coming out of the gate. Apple started cutting orders around 60 days after it was introduced according to Bloomberg. With consumers already cutting back on unnecessary purchases due to inflation, etc. I wonder if things will be different this time?

1 Like

The Apple HomePod Never failed.

Apple decided to move in a different direction. They needed to make hardware changes so they reduced the price, cleared inventory and did the redesign

Apple never made any claims that it was gone forever or that they were even dissatisfied with the product’s sales.

This problem is rampant on YouTube where proper credentials do not exist so liberties are taken that would be shunned by property educated journalists.

The HomePod is designed for Apple ecosystems, Forms a nice bridge between HomeKit and Matter and sounds good.

I think it sits nicely in its niche positioning

Apple never publicly admits to dissatisfying hardware sales. Except for the Xserve that hardly anyone was buying. And maybe when Tim or Phil are writing their memoirs. Then again, they virtually never discount their products pricing without releasing a successor. And they arguably didn’t make a true change of direction with the mini either - since it’s basically the same product, just (radically!) cheaper.

You don’t need to be trained a journalist to infer from observation and reasoning that the original HomePod fell very short of Apple’s expectations. In other words, it flopped.

Part of that may be (now comes conjecture) that it wasn’t intended to have in a niche. I believe it was intended to be a smart speaker for everyone. Priced similarly to an iPod touch and much less expensive than an iPhone. But they still misjudged customer‘s willingness to pay. And their preference for Bluetooth or Spotify over Apple’s ecosystem.


I don’t think that they ever changed the list price though.

1 Like

I am not so sure about the HomePod being a failure - I never understood why this device was being portrayed being one. I think it is more complicated. This will get quite a lengthy post.

The HomePod is the only option if you want to have a decent sounding smart speaker with full Siri integration and dealing as a HomeKit hub in one device. Some may also say the HomePod mini fits into this category. I do not agree. I cannot stand listening to music on one HomePod mini. And it even has its limitations as a stereo pair - yes it is nice how Apple is able to distribute sound across the room, but it is a sound limited by the HomePod mini’s small footprint and - yes - physics.

The big HomePod mitigates these issues to some degree. Its bigger footprint and its built in components are able to do a decent job playing music, especially when used as a stereo pair. What I absolutely cannot understand are some “wow” reviews of some YouTubers as if those HomePods are able to make fire or are able to fly across the universe: They are decent smart speakers and the only smart speaker choice if you are truly invested in the Apple universe as fas as I am concerned. But that’s it. Why the only smart speaker choice? Because Apple does not allow other vendors to integrate in the Apple ecosystem in a way like the HomePods are able to do (Siri integration is crucial for interacting with HomeKit devices and so on).

Regarding the Home Pod 2 in particular:

If this product really would not make any sense in the first place, there would not be the demand we are currently seeing. Nor would there have been this crazy grey market on Ebay during the last two years. Or (excellent) services like this one: Nic’s Excellent HomePod Repair Service - Podfeet Podcasts

I own two HomePods and two HomePod minis. Would I buy the new HomePod 2? Yes. Would I buy new HomePod minis? No. Because to me it is very important how music does sound. I do not consider myself an audiophile (really!), but being a (hobby) musician myself knowing how instruments do sound, how a human voice can sound, listening to music on speakers sometimes can “hurt” my ears and my brain (I am not talking about Pop and Rock). I remember a vacation in London about 15 years ago. By coincidence I stumbled into a performance of the London Symphony Orchestra in Canary Wharf, London (not a very good YouTube video maybe even from that particular occasion). No entry fee, free for all, it was like a picnic situation in the summer: the LSO performing outside on a stage, being amplified by a professional sound system which was necessary in this setting. It was a fantastic experience. And it was in some way disappointing sound-wise, too. If you ever experienced an orchestra in a concert hall or if you are playing an instrument, you know what I mean.

What I am trying to articulate here in this beautiful language that is not my mother tongue: there are the laws of physics. No smart speaker is able to really reproduce sound the way how an instrument or a voice has created it in the first place. No matter if it is from SONOS or from Apple. Listening to music on a stereo pair of HomePods is a tolerable experience. It is convenient and energy efficient. If you really want to enjoy music, almost any mid-class stereo speaker system with a receiver and AirPlay capabilities will beat any smart speaker system. My sound system consists of speakers worth about 800 Euro (just the stereo pair) and a Yamaha receiver of about 600 Euro. The output of that system is way better than anything HomePods can deliver (and still far away from being high-end Hi-Fi equipment). But… this sound system is not running 24/7. It is for those occasions when I am on the sofa enjoying music. Most of the time, I just want to listen to some music without the need to switch on the sound system, without the need to switch to the AirPlay input option. And this is where I really like the HomePod. It is not great, sometimes it is not even good (like the FAZ article’s author has explained quite well), but for me it is the best option for that use case.

Ok, so why on earth has Apple started selling the HomePod “again” and why did they stop doing so in the first place if it is a good product? Only Apple knows, but both decisions do make sense from my point of view:

  1. There have been quite many hardware failures with the old HomePod. Also one of my two HomePods had to be replaced (luckily during warranty while they still were selling them).

  2. Apple was able to apparently cut back hardware costs (and reduce built in components) with this interior redesign while maintaining the sound quality (and maybe improving the built quality hopefully reducing the amount of hardware failures in the future).

  3. There is a demand for the HomePod - as we have seen during the last two years and also now watching the backorder time. Why not fulfilling this demand with a product that now has a potentially even higher margin?

When my old HomePods will fail, they will be replaced with the “new” one - and potentially even my two Minis.

P.S. My intention is not to talk down SONOS, it just is not for me.

1 Like

Hindsight being 20/20 it’s clear the hardware change was underway as the Homepod mini which had Thread Border Router support from day 1. Now we’re finding it also contains the Temp and Humidity sensors. HomePod was based on the same processor for the iPhone 6 which probably made Matter support near impossible given the need for 802.15.4 support. Ascertaining whether a product is a flop or not depends on knowledge of the projected sales and that data is internal.

@AppliedMicro Ahh I love the Xserve but Apple was smart to focusing on pushing the iPhone into Enterprise rather than try the boutique big iron approach. Most of the “It flopped” crew were tossing out “smart speaker marketshare” as their criteria which again was made up as Apple never claimed that the primary reason for the HomePod was being a smart speaker they lauded it’s sound quality the most from the launch.

Most of the Tech writing that I see is from a bubble and that bubble is that most have never sold. Those who have sold consumer tech understand the price points better. @SpivR sells, so he like other salespeople knows high volume consumer speakers have to be under $200. We LOVE the Sonos One. The older Play 3 which was 299 …Sonos killed it off years ago. The Google Max …when it came out I said “that’s not going to sell” I knew that people don’t want to spend 300 + for speaker. So when the HomePod came out at 349 I knew it would sell to Apple fans but like all 300 dollar speakers the numbers will never impress.

I think it’s pretty clear that this measure in particular wasn’t met for the original HomePod. I think it’s pretty rare for Apple to have to cut almost 1/3 off the price of an item to blow out old inventory, and still have a hard time doing it.

There is the potential though that some people who wouldn’t jump on the Gen 1 HomePod because it was new, and “who knows if Apple is going to continue down this road”, might see that Apple is trying to commit to the product line and be more willing to jump in.

$350 is an expensive gamble on a new product line. $300 on the 2nd generation of a product line, maybe not so much. And obviously, as mentioned above, having the $300 product and the $100 product provides some manner of price anchoring.

Gen 2 is stripped down relative to Gen 1 as far as audio hardware, but seems to be improved in terms of smart home features. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

I have the IKEA bookshelf speaker, and for what I need for AirPlay audio it works great. No desire for anything “smart home” related at this point.

1 Like

I may be getting two. I’d like to read a more detailed audio-oriented review first. (One may be out already; I haven’t had a chance yet.) Siri isn’t very important to me, but I’d also like to understand if the complaints about Siri are saying it’s worse than the S chip on the mini, or if they just don’t like Siri in general.

1 Like

My Deutsch is quite rusty and was never very good. I took a college course in high school. Wo schwimmen der Eisberg? Der Eisberg schwimmen in das Ozceam.

I have two HomePods I got last year and I love them.

I have two originals. One has the popping problem so I don’t use it. I had two minis but gave them to a friend late last year as a housewarming gift. I also found Siri on the minis to reply more consistently than the OG Homepods, so would expect these new ones to also be more consistent, but wouldn’t be surprised if it was not the case for some reason.