Apple does some dumb things at time, but this is probably the dumbest. Some of you may remember “antenna gate,” when the iPhone 4’s antenna was placed in a non-optimal location, and Steve Jobs famously told people “don’t hold it that way.” That was in incredibly arrogant way of refusing to accept responsibility for a design choice.

In the latest installment, the plastic on the bottom of the HomePod can leave white rings on some furniture. Apparently this occurs with wood that has been oiled or waxed, and is caused by chemical interactions with the wood.

It’s hard to understand how Apple, a company that touts its understanding of materials and design, could have release a product that, well, damages furniture. Presumably, if you only leave the HomePod on furniture for a few days, then notice it, it might be easy to repair, but you may need to do some heavy work if it’s any longer than that.

Apple’s Cleaning and taking care of HomePod support document now includes a “Where to place HomePod” section, which says:

It is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-damping silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces. The marks can be caused by 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. If not, wiping the surface gently with a soft damp or dry cloth may remove the marks. 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.

Not unusual? Seriously? It’s highly unusual for any product of this type, used as it is intended, to damage furniture.

This is much worse than the recent iPhone battery issue, and ranks up there with antenna gate as dumb Apple problems. There should be no limitation to where you can put the HomePod; I’ve never heard of any other device of this type where there are limitations as to what type of surface you can put it on. Why hasn’t Apple used a material that doesn’t mark wooden surfaces?

11 thoughts on “HomePod-on-Table-Gate

  1. Would a protective mat compromise the sound quality? Perhaps Apple could design one and make it available at minimal cost to HomePod owners. I’m not sure whether my tongue is in my cheek or not here…

    • I was actually planning on finding some kind of dense foam for mine, to eliminate the bass resonance between the device and the shelf I have it on. So something like that would not only protect furniture, but also improve the sound a bit.

  2. While I will agree that it is absurd that the HomePod is incompatible with common furniture, the problem is more common than Kirk’s experience indicates. I make fine furniture, and I run into this problem frequently. Particularly galling is the fact that many “protective” mattes, doilies, and trivets cause a similar problem.

  3. Actually ANYTHING with a silicone base will have the SAME effect and leave marks on some oiled or untreated wood surfaces. This is nothing “new”, and it certainly does not just pertain to the HomePod.

    For example, an article with photos appeared today on Tom’s Guide, showing that the Sonos One speaker, which also has silicone pads on the bottom of the speaker, leaves similar marks on the same type of wood surfaces.

    • I saw that. And I searched Google for articles prior to today mentioning a problem with rings from the Sonos One; I didn’t find any. I’m a bit skeptical about this.

      • There is no point in being “skeptical” about the report and photos on Tom’s Guide, which is NOT an Apple-centric website.

        White rings on unprotected wood (i.e. wooden furniture that is not protected by a hard coating) can happen because of many things. Silicone and rubber bases are just ONE of the ways in which unprotected wood can end up with white rings.

        The most common cause of white marks on unprotected wood is water. Even a dry coffee mug placed on unprotected wood can have condensation due to the heat of the coffee, and end up marking the wood.

        However, if your furniture is protected either by a hard clear-coating, glass, or other type of protection, you WON’T end up with white marks from ANYTHING placed on it.

  4. Apple Watch Composite Back I could consider it as my allergy reaction. Ceramic does much better. But This one?

    A big UGH.

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