It appears as if Apple’s newest smart speaker is having some unintended issues, with users around the web reporting that the HomePod leaves white rings on the surfaces where they place it.
Apple’s smart speaker is a late entry to the market, with speakers like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home already dominating much of the market. Because of this, it was already at a disadvantage, but the fact that many people are reporting that the HomePod leaves white rings on their furniture may spell trouble for the new device.
Although the HomePod is already almost $400 on its own, the furniture that many people are placing it on may be significantly more expensive. It’s also rather bizarre that the HomePod leaves white rings similar to that you’d see on furniture when leaving a glass of water standing, considering the HomePod is literally just a speaker.
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While it might have been expected that Apple would insist that users had done something wrong rather than the fact that the HomePod leaves white rings, they stated to Wirecutter that “the marks can improve over time after the speaker is removed from the wood surface.”
Considering the level of craftsmanship we’ve come to expect from Apple devices, with relatively few issues plaguing their products from a design standpoint outside of some overheating devices, it’s shocking that Apple would not only release the product knowing that it has the issue, but then confirm to media that it’s happening like it’s not even a problem.
The fact that the HomePod leaves white rings is a major blow to Apple, considering that a lot of what the company was riding on was its design and Apple brand. Apple had tried to market the speaker as a high-end audio device that performs better than the alternatives, but upon testing it turned out that it wasn’t that much better than the Google Home – if at all. Add to that the fact that the HomePod only interfaces with Apple devices, and it’s clear that the smart speaker is already at a disadvantage just days after its release.
Suggesting that the white rings that damage furniture from the HomePod may “get better” after the speaker is removed rather than go away completely seems to suggest that Apple doesn’t really see the problem as an issue, while many people seeing that the HomePod leaves white rings are taking to Twitter to voice their displeasure.
Apple also told Wirecutter that affected users should “try cleaning the surface with the manufacturer’s suggested oiling method.”
The company has since stated that it’s a common problem with speakers with a silicone base, and it seems, indeed, that more speakers than just the HomePod have had this issue.
Still, with a release that is as high-profile as a major Apple product, you would figure that the company would iron out the details to the point that damaging expensive furniture wouldn’t be an issue for such an expensive product. Spending hundreds of dollars only to deal with the issue when the Apple HomePod leaves white rings is no-doubt a disappointment for people who anxiously awaited a dedicated Apple smart speaker.
However, the fact that Apple came out and admitted that it was a problem rather than staying silent and trying to backtrack may signal a new era of increased transparency from the company. The tech giant is already dealing with a lot of negative PR after the massive backlash when news of their slowing of older iPhones came to light. Although the company had claimed that the reason for the slow-down was due to concerns over battery stability in older devices, consumers were understandably upset regarding the fact that they were never informed about the slowdown – with many people going out and buying brand new phones to fix an issue put into place by Apple themselves.
Apple has since addressed the issue by lowering battery replacements from $79 to $29, which should completely fix the issue of older batteries. For those who would like to fix the issue without spending money, however, a new feature is coming with iOS 11.3 that will allow people to disable this battery management feature with the understanding that they may deal with crashes as their phone increases in age.
At least by being upfront and acknowledging the fact that the HomePod leaves white rings on furniture, Apple is acknowledging a problem rather than obscuring or ignoring it. Let’s hope that a better solution comes around moving forward.