Apple admits HomePod speaker can leave stains on wooden surfaces

15 Feb 2018

HomePod speaker. Image: pianodiaphragm/Shutterstock

Apple is facing criticism from customers who say its HomePod speaker leaves stains on wooden surfaces.

Apple has designed its HomePod speaker to be a major competitor in the smart speaker space and it hopes to provide an alternative to Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices.

According to Bloomberg, the speaker generates thinner profit margins for the company compared to products such as the successful Apple Watch and iPhone.

Powered by Apple’s popular Siri virtual assistant to provide voice control, the company nevertheless has high hopes for the product’s integration into the lives and domestic ecosystems of consumers.

HomePod has its flaws

The speaker retails at a pretty hefty $350 and although Wirecutter called it “the best-sounding wireless smart speaker available”, it also noted a long list of flaws with the product. The ability to connect multiple speakers in multiple rooms, touted as a marquee feature, has not yet been introduced and there has been no timeline offered by Apple for future feature additions or updates.

Perhaps the most glaring issue is the fact that the speaker can cause damage to wooden furniture, with owners and reviewers on Twitter noting this issue.

Apple advice

Apple updated its customer support page with advice: “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.”

Apple also said the speaker should be kept away from heat sources such as radiators, stoves and even candles.

 Many are viewing the advice to simply move the speaker to a different surface as a less-than-ideal solution to the flaw and say that the warning about wooden surfaces should have been issued prior to the speakers hitting the market.

Wirecutter reviewer John Chase said: “This really undermines the design aspect of the HomePod, especially if you were thinking of displaying it on some prized piece of furniture. It will surely be a sore point for many potential buyers.”

The speaker flaw comes at a bad time for Apple, as the company is only now recovering from the aftermath of the recent iPhone battery controversy.

HomePod speaker. Image: pianodiaphragm/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects