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Updated: Apple's HomePod Can Leave a Nasty Surprise on Some Wood Surfaces

February 14, 2018

Anyone HomePod users or potential buyers should beware of a significant issue with Apple’s smart speaker. Apple has confirmed that placing the device on wood surfaces with specific finishes can possibly cause damage.

An example of marks made by a HomePod on a wood surface.

An example of marks made by a HomePod on a wood surface.

Credit: Wirecutter

Update: Apple has just published a new support document – Cleaning and taking care of HomePod. It does mention that the base of the HomePod could leave a mark on some wood furniture.

The issue was noticed by both Wirecutter and Pocket-Lint in recent reviews.

Wirecutter said that the HomePod left an obvious white ring on an oiled butcher-block countertop and wooden side table. Apple confirmed the issue to the site:

Apple says “the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface,” and if they don’t fade on their own, you can basically just go refinish the furniture—the exact advice Apple gave in an email to Wirecutter was to “try cleaning the surface with the manufacturer’s suggested oiling method.” 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. In other testing, we have seen no visible damage when using it on glass, granite countertop, nice MDF, polyurethane-sealed wood, and cheap IKEA bookcases. We also tested the HomePod in the same place a Sonos One regularly lives—and the Sonos hasn’t caused damage in months of use.

My HomePod, which is currently serving as a beautiful and expensive paperweight, is located on a granite countertop – thankfully.

But there’s no reason to beat around the bush. It’s unacceptable for any device, let alone an expensive smart speaker, to cause damage to wood furniture. Apple officially announced the speaker last June and has reportedly been testing it for even longer. This is an issue that should have been caught long before the device went on sale. And it’s another huge strike against the HomePod.