Earlier this week, Apple introduced new Macs and the long-rumoured return of the HomePod.
The new version of Apple’s original smart speaker, Apple says, will improve audio and even listen out for smoke alarm sounds to ping your iPhone, for a new lower price of NZ$529. But amidst all the excitement, Apple sneakily added NZ$20 to the price of the HomePod mini while nobody was looking, and unsurprisingly this didn’t warrant an Apple News notification.
At the time of our HomePod mini review, it was priced at a reasonable-ish NZ$159. Now it’s up to a less reasonable-ish NZ$179, whichever colour you pick.
Technically, the HomePod mini did become a better product this week, with Apple adding the ability to detect temperature and humidity. But given that’s a software update enabling previously sleeping sensors, it hardly justifies the price increase.
To add insult to injury, our friends, enemies and those we’re indifferent to across the Tasman Sea didn’t get a price increase. Over there, it’s still the same AU$149 as it was last week. Run that through a currency converter, and it’s almost exactly the same price the HomePod mini was in New Zealand at the start of the week.
But this isn’t a case of Apple picking on New Zealand. The HomePod mini went up a similar amount in a number of other regions around the world, and in the greater scheme of things, Kiwis got a fairly mild kicking from Apple.
Other regions, including the UK and France, faced a ~NZ$288 price increase on the 24in iMac, while Apple’s New Zealand store still has prices starting at ‘just’ NZ$2,399.
When viewed like that a NZ$20 price increase isn’t the most egregious thing in the world, especially when Apple buyers are — to put it gently — not enormously price sensitive. But at the same time, tech typically comes down in price years after release, and seeing that gravity reversed is just plain unsettling.