How can you tell your neighbor owns an Apple HomePod?
Just look for white rings on their wood tables.
No joke. Some owners of the new $350 smart speaker aren’t laughing because the silicone bottom of the tricked-out gizmo is marking up their furniture.
On Wednesday, CNET published tips on how to prevent the HomePod from staining your furniture.
The problem has spawned a couple of Twitter hashtags — #Ringgate and #Staingate — and more than a few references to a certain Beyonce song.
Reviewers at The New York Times’ Wirecutter listed the “put a ring on it” problem under the HomePod’s “most important limitations” for people to know.
“The HomePod can damage wood furniture,” Wirecutter’s Jon Case wrote. “An unhappy discovery after we placed a HomePod on an oiled butcher-block countertop and later on a wooden side table was that it left a defined white ring in the surface.”
Tech site Pocket-Lint’s reviewer, Stuart Miles, described how the speaker sits flat on any given surface “creating a snug fit, presumably to help resonate and amplify the bass.
“It is this snug fit that could cause you problems however. For our tests we placed the speaker on a solid oak kitchen worktop treated with Danish oil.
“Within 20 minutes the HomePod had caused a white discolored ring to appear on the wood that some days later has faded, although still hasn’t completely disappeared.”
Placed on other surfaces — including unoiled wood and a lacquered desk — the HomePod didn’t create any rings, Miles noted.
Reviewers at the British daily newspaper The Guardian also found that the HomePod didn’t leave marks on glass, Formica or plastic-coated reconstituted wood.
“Other speakers, including Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, do not appear to leave similar marks, despite having rubber feet or pads,” the Guardian noted. “But at least one person has discovered similar marks from the feet of the Sonos One.”
HomePod owners are airing their grievances — and their best HomePod snark — on social media.
“This really undermines the design aspect of the HomePod — especially if you were thinking of displaying it on some prized piece of furniture — and it will surely be a sore point for many potential buyers,” Wirecutter wrote.
Apple has acknowledged the weird problem, telling Pocket-Lint’s reviewers that it was “not unusual” for a speaker with a silicone base to leave a “mild mark” when placed on certain oil- or wax-based, wood-finished surfaces, “suggesting the marks are caused by oils diffusing between the silicone base and the table surface.
“The company suggested it can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface and if it doesn’t self-correct, to try cleaning the surface with the manufacturer’s suggested oiling method.”
Apple’s other suggestion to HomePod owners: Just move it.
In fairly typical “Apple fashion,” Engadget executive editor Dana Wollman said in an interview, the company seems to be both minimizing the problem and asking customers to accept an inconvenience.
“It is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-damping silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces,” the company’s support page for the HomePod reads.
“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.”