Apple's awkward home refurbishment
The HomePod returns after years in the wilderness
Hello. It's Thursday. Time for tech.
This is the first issue of Multicore for paid subscribers. Thank you so much for all the support and encouragement after I flipped the switch on this thing yesterday — it means a lot. I'm relieved to have that out of the way and excited to get to work.
We have a lot to catch up on. In particular, there has been an unusual amount of Apple news for a January, both in terms of official announcements and external reporting. I'll get to a bunch of it, but I want to focus on the HomePod.
Let's say you run a global tech company. You have a series of very successful and profitable products that work well together. You release another product with a narrower use case that slots into that ecosystem and has its fans, but ultimately isn't a big hit compared to more mainstream competitors.
It would be understandable to discontinue that product. It would also be understandable to make some tweaks and give the category another shot down the line. What would be perhaps less understandable is discontinuing the product, waiting almost two years, then bringing out a near-identical second version at the same price.
That's what Apple just did with the HomePod. It's the latest twist for Apple's smart speaker, which has gone through one of the company's bumpiest product cycles in recent memory.
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