The Apple HomePod is a premium wireless speaker with support for Siri, Apple Music, and… not much else at the moment. The HomePod started shipping last week, and most early reviewers agree that it’s one of the best sounding wireless speakers on the market, but that it’s not as “smart” as an Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker.

That could change through future software updates that could add features like multi-room audio, support for more third-party services, answers to more types of questions and requests, and more smart home features.

One thing that’s unlikely to change through a software update? Apple HomePod speakers have a habit of leaving white marks when placed on some types of wood furniture.

The Wirecutter

Here’s the deal: the HomePod has a silicone base. If you place it on top of some surfaces, it’ll leave a mark.

According to the Wirecutter, this happened on an oiled butcher-block countertop and a wood side table. Pocket Lint saw the same thing happen when they placed a HomePod on a oak surface that had been treated with oil. It only took about 20 minutes for white marks to appear.

Apple’s response to the Wirecutter is that the marks should at least partially clear up on their own a few days after the speaker is taken off the surface… but that if they don’t disappear you should probably just retouch or refinish the surface of your furniture.


So right now Apple’s sales pitch is buy our expensive speaker because it sounds better than the competition, but which may be less useful, which is definitely tougher to repair, and which probably shouldn’t be placed on certain surfaces, because it can ruin your even more expensive furniture (which we kind of forgot to tell you… or did we?)

Unsurprisingly, folks on Twitter are having a field day with this, and even hardcore Apple fans are not amused.

That said, the folks at iMore have a simple solution: put the speaker on a coaster. Expect Apple to start selling iCoasters any day now.

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14 replies on “Apple’s $350 HomePod may damage wood furniture, but at least it sounds good”

  1. HIlarious. After “you’re holding it wrong” back in the iPhone 4 days, now it’s “it’s because your wood furniture isn’t appropriate for it”.

    Apple can truly be arrogant AF sometimes, thank $deity it at least sounds awesome (whatever that means for a product that isn’t about sound quality anyway).

    1. And all you have to do is refinish your furniture! I’m surprised they didn’t mention the option of buying new furniture!

  2. The new fad from Apple: the HomePod challange! Safer than the tide pod challange, your job is just to find a reason to purchase an overpriced and locked down bluetooth speaker that damages the surface it’s placed upon. Simple!

    1. I understand it is not even Bluetooth. Airplay only. No audio jack in either. Android users need not bother with this speaker. Apparently you have to use an iphone or ipad just to set it up. All this for a speaker that does not sound as good as a Sonos 3 (which will work with an echo dot) and has limited Siri integration. What the ~!@#$% was Apple thinking?

      1. Correction. It does have Bluetooth, but you cannot use it to stream music. I am not sure what sense that makes.

        AirPlay, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 (no audio streaming)

  3. I still have a bunch of those “coasters” that AOL used to mail me all the time.

  4. Apple’s been having having some embarrassing issues in the last few months (nothing catastrophic in my opinion though). I guess it’s expected that Apple’s response is the usual: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. They have certainly built up a lot of brand loyalty over the years. They would probably have to do a bunch of outrageous stuff before that’s fully eroded, and the defections become significant.

  5. Does not sound good, only reviewers that have no clue about audio think it sounds good, It’s inferior in both audio quality and smarts, maybe check reviews from qualified folks not mainstream tech blogs that are just some random dude having an opinion.

    1. I’m guessing it sounds good enough for most people especially compared to their competitors within the same target market and those who only buy Apple products. I don’t think audiophiles will be dumping their multi-thousand dollar equipment anytime soon.

      As for the smarts, I’m also guessing Apple users are going to just trust Apple’s promise of future updates that’ll make it “smarter”. Maybe they also bought Teslas and paid the extra money for the self-driving hardware with the promise of software updates to enable self-driving sometime in the future with no actual deadline or contract…

      1. Yeah, ’tis a bit silly to compare products in two completely different market segments. The comparison should be with smart home speakers, like Google Home and Amazon Echo.

        The smarts thing is always going to be a moving target. Now all three giant tech companies have offerings, I expect the arms race in terms of features and integration to begin in earnest. The key thing is that the source of those smarts is the servers the devices connect to, so as new services and smarts roll out, existing users will benefit.

        The issue is not Apple is behind at the moment, it’s whether they will ever catch up to their competitors. I suspect they will do okay for two reasons. First, the market is still quite immature, so they haven’t left it too long before getting in, and second, they have a fiercely loyal (and comparatively well off) customer base who have already heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem.

  6. I’ll be surprised if it isn’t designed to only accept a proprietary coaster.

    I forget which one of these was going to come out with this feature, but it really doesn’t matter because they both will eventually. Combining two devices in one room for stereo sound (different than multi-room audio). When you factor that in, the price difference between Amazon and Apple is even larger.

  7. Where can I get a stencil kit to give myself the status symbol of a Homepod-ring? I could just put a ring out on the coffee table and then tell people I have one but it’s in the other room and they can’t go in their because…

    1. You could always say it broke and cost too much to repair so you have a proper speaker on order.

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