Apple has issued a more direct response to customers experiencing issues with HomePod leaving white rings on certain wood surfaces in normal use. The response comes in an updated support article detailing how to clean and care for HomePod. Apple describes the occurrence as expected and not a defect.
It is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-dampening silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces.
That response suggests Apple was aware of this issue (like with jet black iPhone 7 experiencing ‘micro abrasions’ which it warned customers about) and a fix should not be expected if it’s not a defect.
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.
The slightly technical explanation is also appreciated, but the message here isn’t satisfactory for affected customers. The damage may not be permanent, but HomePod should be designed to use on common surfaces like wood tables and shelves without risking furniture damage.
The fast turnaround on this is also nice to see, but it certainly feels like one more piece to the puzzle is missing: does Apple expect customers to accept this or is the manufacturing process changing to avoid the issue in the future?
So far my HomePods are fine on different wood surfaces, but the issue is not uncommon. My 9to5Toys colleague Trevor Daugherty experienced it on his work desk, and wood is a better surface for HomePod than glass in my experience so far.
Read the full support article here.