Update 19/02/18: Last week, reviewers discovered a problem with Apple’s HomePod, documenting that the smart speaker left white rings behind when removed. Industrial experts have now opened up about the matter, expressing their shock that the issue was not caught during testing but explaining that it should be relatively simple to fix.
A number of individuals expressed their disappointment towards Apple during an interview with Business Insider, with Microsoft and Ericsson product design expert Ignazio Moresco stating that “They didn’t test the product enough and in the right variety of circumstances, especially considering that a wood surface is a very likely support for the product.”
“This is sitting on a bookshelf. Is it going to work? Or are there going to be problems? A traditional consumer product company or a speaker company or a traditional Hi-Fi company is going to worry about that and think about those problems and have experience with it,” said Gregor Berkowitz, a product development consultant for various consumer electronics brands. “This shouldn’t be new for Apple but it is.”
Berkowitz has outlined that Apple will have to “re-tool” its manufacturing process to avoid such problems in the future as “silicone is manufactured using a different process than the other kinds of elastomer.”
This doesn’t help existing owners of the device, however, so a coaster might be in order. Luckily, the smart speaker is unlikely to be moved from one place to another frequently, so this should pose a minor issue at best.
Apple’s HomePod went on sale last week, with reviewers saying mostly great things about the device’s speaker quality and general functionality. Unfortunately, users of the smart speaker have noticed that it leaves distinct white rings behind when sat on wooden surfaces for a period of time.
The tech giant has acknowledged the problem, explaining that the “mild marks” are a reaction to the “vibration-dampening silicone base” and can happen to “any speaker” with the same coating. These marks will apparently fade after several days of the device no longer being placed in the same area, or alternatively, the less persistent rings can be removed with a little elbow grease.
Congratulations to everyone on their beautiful HomePods and sorry it secretes a deadly acid that destroys your furniture https://t.co/p1eSAvjCbW pic.twitter.com/uVhAFbIlRJ
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) February 14, 2018
Apple states that the cause of the issues comes from “oils diffusing between the silicone base and the table surface, and will often go away after several days when the speaker is removed from the wooden surface.”
“Wiping the surface gently with a soft damp or dry cloth may remove the marks,” it continues. “If marks persist, clean the surface with the furniture manufacturer's recommended cleaning process. If you're concerned about this, we recommend placing your HomePod on a different surface.”
While the folks over at The Inquirer didn’t have such a bad time removing the white rings left by their device, Wirecutter’s and Pocket-Lint’s marks were much more persistent, fading but never full disappearing. Some users are worried that the stain won’t ever fade, ultimately destroying the furniture on which it’s placed.
#homepod left rings on my wood furniture in less than 20 minutes of use. Thanks #apple I am glad a paid $400 to make perfect etched circles on my more expensive furniture. Guess I can not move it now to cover up the mark. Evil geniuses you are. #applesupport pic.twitter.com/eZng16barS
— Guy San Francisco (@Guyinsf415) February 10, 2018
It’s safe to say that some users are in an uproar that this wasn’t common knowledge like Apple is shrugging it off to be, and that they shouldn’t have to buy extra materials to stop a £320 ($350) piece of technology from destroying their home.
Needless to say, Apple isn’t wrong in that this is a common problem among devices with the same silicone base. Owners of Amazon’s Echo Dot have reported similar experiences in the past, suggesting a coaster as the only true solution to the problem.
KitGuru Says: Unfortunately, as decorative as smart speakers can be, it’s wise to be weary on how you will display it in your home so as to avoid destroying furniture. I know I wouldn’t be best pleased having to fork out double the cost to replace the table or desk it sat on.