Apple discontinues HomePod to focus on HomePod mini

I meant to post about this before now, but last Friday, TechCrunch reported that Apple was discontinuing the larger HomePod in favor of focusing on the HomePod mini.

The original HomePod is available “while supplies last”, however as of this writing you can still get an original HomePod in white from Apple, and the space gray model is sold out. You still might be able to get one from a third-party retailer.

I cannot say that I am surprised by this move. There has not been any hardware update to the HomePod since its introduction in 2017 and its release in February of 2018. After it was released, I wrote a couple of different reviews about the HomePod.

The original HomePod produces great sound, and I am somewhat sad that they are not doing any updates to the product because the HomePod produces much better sound than the HomePod mini. At the same time, I get needing to focus on one HomePod product and the HomePod mini being the focus makes sense. Given how many people are price conscious, you can get three HomePod minis for the price of one HomePod, and therefore creating a stereo pair of HomePod minis is still cheaper, even with AppleCare+ and tax included.

If Apple is going to focus on the HomePod mini, I hope they plan on releasing updates on a regular basis, otherwise I feel as though the HomePod mini will go the way of the HomePod and there will be no Siri-enabled HomePods available.

The original HomePod will continue to receive updates, but the real question is for how long. I suspect that it may only be a a few years of support left for the original HomePod, in terms of software updates, but I could be wrong.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple Discontinues iMac Pro

It looks like the iMac Pro is not long for this world. As of this writing, the iMac Pro is still available to purchase, however the purchase page has the words “While Supplies Last” on it. While you can still purchase an iMac Pro, you can only get the base model. This means that you are not able to customize it in anyway and there are no upgrades available.

Let us travel back to 2017 briefly. The highest end Mac was the Mac Pro. It was introduced in 2013 to much fanfare and had a radical design. Even though there was a new design, the machine had remained largely unchanged since its introduction. Given that there had not been any updates, many speculated that Apple had given up on the higher-end of the Mac market.

In April of 2017 Apple held a roundtable with some journalists to indicate that they were in fact re-dedicating itself to the Mac. According to TechCrunch, “And later this year we’ll see improved iMacs that Apple feels will appeal to a segment of Pro users, as well.” While they did not have anything to share at that time, the product would be announced quite soon.

At Apple’s 2017 World Wide Developer Conference, they announced a Mac that was aimed at professional users. It would not be a modular machine. Instead, it would be called the iMac Pro. The machine would become available in December of the same year.

The iMac Pro was truly designed for professionals and came with a professional price tag that starts at $4999. However, for this you would get a Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of ECC memory, and 1TB of storage. Plus, it would come in Space Gray with matching accessories.

The current base model of the iMac Pro comes with the following specifications:

  • 3.0GHz 10-core Intel Xeon W processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • 32GB 2666MHz ECC memory
  • 1TB SSD storage
  • Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB HBM2 memory
  • 10Gb Ethernet
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • 27-inch Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display

While the iMac Pro is still a good machine, it is not being updated. It has not seen any significant updates in its three-years on the market. There have been some processor bumps, and additional options, including an additional graphics card option, but nothing major in the time. The iMac Pro was designed to allow users who have higher-end needs to be able to have an all-in-one machine.

I think Apple is retiring the iMac Pro line for two reasons. The first is that there is another machine, the Mac Pro, which can also fill these needs. The Mac Pro provides even more power than the iMac Pro; however not in an all-in-one machine.

The second reason I think Apple is discontinuing the iMac Pro is because now is a good time to do so. Apple is refreshing the entire Mac line with their own Apple Silicon processors. Apple has indicated that it will take two years to make the complete transition.

The only machines that have been updated thus far as the MacBook Air, the Mac mini, and the lower-end MacBook Pro. The higher-end 13.3-inch MacBook Pros, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 21.5-inch iMac, 27-inch iMac,, and the Mac Pro still need to get the new processors.

With the eventual release of an updated iMac, I suspect that there will be significant changes on the iMac. This includes thinner bezels, a redesigned body, and redesigned internal structure. I also suspect that with Apple Silicon there will not be as much differentiation between the iMac lines. With not nearly as much differentiation, there is no need for the iMac Pro. I suspect that the iMac line will have a wide range of customizations, including those that would meet the needs of iMac Pro users.

Furthermore, I suspect that there will be some surprises with the iMac line. I am not sure what they might be. Maybe one of them will be an option for selecting either silver or space gray, but that is merely a wild guess.

It will be interesting to see what Apple will with the iMac line, and given that the look of the iMac has remained the same since 2012, it may be time for a complete re-thinking. Again, this makes it the perfect time to eliminate the iMac Pro. I hope Apple continues to provide an option for professional users. What I would really like to see is a cheaper stand-alone monitor, but that is a whole separate topic.

Apple Discontinuing Airport Line

One of the realities of today’s companies, regardless of industry and age, is that no company can focus on everything all the time. There are times throughout a company’s life when they feel as though it is worth the effort to create and maintain a product. As time progresses, I may become less worthwhile to maintain the product. Apple has decided to stop making and selling all of their <a href=”https://www.apple.com/compare-wifi-models/’>Airport products. This includes the AirPort Extreme, Airport Express, and the Time Capsule.

Apple has indicated that it will be supporting the product with security updates for five years. The products themselves will still be sold through Apple.com and Apple Authorized resellers while supplies last.

It is not really any surprise to those who have been following Apple for a while. The AirPort line was introduced in 1999 by Steve Jobs at the same time the iBook was introduced.

At the time Wireless networking was basically non-existent. The introduction of the AirPort base station helped propel the industry forward. Today there are a large number of companies that are doing more with wireless. One of the technologies is Mesh Networking.

While it is sad to see the AirPort line going away, I cannot say that I am surprised at all. I likely will not be replacing my AirPort base stations anytime soon. Unless one of them dies. If it does, I am not sure what type of wireless router I would go with. I own my own cable modem, and it does not wireless built-in. At that point I may just see what the best recommendation for wireless routers. I know that one of the things that I will look at is whether the company does regular security updates.

If the discontinuation of the AirPort line means that Apple can focus on other new products, then it will ultimately be a good decision.

Daily Run Down 05/13/2013: Evening Edition

Here is this evening’s Daily Run Down.

Social

General News

International

Politics

Obits

Health

Science/Space

Financial

Gaming

Gadgets

Law

Technology

Internet

Mobile

Rumors

Software/Apps

Security

Developer

London/Britain/UK

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Funny

Chicagoland

Total Number of stories: 75

Look for more stories tomorrow.

Daily Run Down 01/10/2013: Morning Edition

Here is this morning’s Daily Run Down.

20130110.01.jpg

CES 2013

Big News

Recalls

General News

International

Politics

Obits

Health

Science/Space

Financial

Historical

Gadgets

Law

Patents

Technology

Internet

Mobile

Software/Apps

London/Britain/UK

Odd

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Funny

Chicagoland

Total Number of stories: 110

Look for more news stories this evening.