back to article You're decorating it wrong: Apple HomePod gives wood ring of death

Apple HomePod owners say the $349 smart-speaker is prone to damaging wood surfaces. This from multiple reports by both reviewers and early adopters who have complained that the Cupertino music box has been leaving hard-to-remove white rings – kinda reminding us of the infamous Xbox 360 rings of death – on their tables and …

  1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge
    Boffin

    Wood is not minimalistic.

    If you have wood surfaces, you're furnishing it wrong. Wood is vaguely organic, irregular, imperfect. Apple has never countenanced a wood-based product. Any marking is your fault for having purchased a product which is incompatible with Apple's design criteria.

    Edit - I don't really believe this.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Wood is not minimalistic.

      Ahhh, so people are furnishing their houses wrong.

    2. Adam Jarvis

      Re: Wood is not minimalistic.

      I'm suprised prototypes didn't stain Jony Ive's wooden worktops in his lair/RnD lab and Apple's wooden table tops in their stores...

      So how much testing has this product actually had, outside Foxconn, China?

      I always thought Scott Forstall would have made a better (technical based) CEO, than Tim Cook, Cook's far too evangelical, and surrounded far too many yes men, believes his own hype, when products like iOS need serious work on thing like cut and paste, text selection to make it genuinely viable as your only computer, Forstall would have sorted these problems by now.

      He might have been a so called, pain to work with, but iOS was a lot better back then

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: Wood is not minimalistic.

        @Adam: Boards and hence business people don't like listening to "tech nerds". They prefer to listen to MBA wielding "tell us what we want to hear" types. Boat not rocked, steady as she goes. Thus we have the corporate landscape we see today where products are not so much made to suit the customer but rather the customer is left with "that or nothing" optionality across competing vendors that then rake in the coin. I doubt it was a tech executive that came up with "sell them the same shit on a perennial subscription basis". It is hard to find any innovation without an attached privacy or fiscal pillage, or post sales control freakery. Adobe et al with subscription software. Hardware/software vendors that collect and sell your info and companies like DJI that sell you an expensive toy and fuck you over afterwards with restrictions on what you can later do with it - that is a breach of contract if ever I saw one, being a unilateral renegotiation of a contract without any agreement from the other party.

      2. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Re: Wood is not minimalistic.

        Jony Ive allows wood in his office? It's so - imperfect and doesn't come in one of the approved Apple colours.

    3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Wood is not minimalistic.

      Betting they'll adapt the pod to leave an apple logo, instead of a ring after this

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: Wood is not minimalistic.

        Betting they'll adapt the pod to leave an apple logo, instead of a ring after this

        Sidenote: I've just filled in the medical form for the local medical practice as I've just moved into the area. And I've left a wine stain ring on the bit where it asks about how many units I consume in a week...

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Wood is not minimalistic.

          BongoJoe,

          They asked how much you drink. Not how much you spill?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wood is not minimalistic.

      Just send everyone an Apple shaped beer coaster. And while their at it a couple of beers to cheer them up.

  2. redpawn Silver badge

    Sex

    stains. Get used to it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sex

      So, just stop having sex with your HomePod?

  3. Bill M

    Roses are red.............

    Wot's all this about roses ?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Roses are red.............

      It's Ash Wednesday.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Roses are red.............

        Oh Holly week already! That means Palm Sunday, Samara Wednesday, Maple Thursday, and Dogwood Friday are close at hand. I think I'll go celebrate. Hmm, a rusty nail or simply a rolling rock.

      2. Blofeld's Cat
        Devil

        Re: Roses are red.............

        This year I have given up religion for Lent ...

        1. Chris King Silver badge

          Re: Roses are red.............

          I was going to give up sarcasm... Yeah, right !

          1. psychonaut

            Re: Roses are red.............

            more likely to be black friday and cyber monday these days....

      3. ravenviz
        Coat

        Re: Roses are red.............

        It's Ash Wednesday

        So when's Sheffield Wednesday?

      4. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Roses are red.............

        If that's a T S Eliot reference I can only say one upvote is not enough.

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    HomeDesk

    It's only approved for use with Apple home furnishings. Losers with non-Apple shelfware shouldn't even be looking at this.

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    French Polishers

    The demand just went up

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKb3J9mctlo

    1. psychonaut

      Re: French Polishers

      haha! i was hoping your link was going to be that advert! the chick man, the chick...

  6. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Apple home furnishings range.

    The solution would be for Apple to produce its own home furnishings range to be compatible with its devices.

    In common with other Apple products that have an 'i' prefix, maybe they could use a name such as iKea for the range.

    1. Scott 26
      Coat

      Re: Apple home furnishings range.

      >In common with other Apple products that have an 'i' prefix,

      >maybe they could use a name such as iKea for the range.

      I think NZ's alpine parrot might take issue (iSsue?) with that....

      1. Woza

        Re: Apple home furnishings range.

        "iSsue"

        Apple's legal department?

    2. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Apple home furnishings range.

      Wouldn't that mean desks that can only have Apple products put on them, chairs that only an iBum can sit in, and toilets that only accept Apple iSplatters?

    3. Fihart

      Re: Apple home furnishings range.

      The solution would be for Apple to produce its own range of coasters to be compatible with its devices.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Apple home furnishings range.

        "The solution would be for Apple to produce its own range of coasters to be compatible with its devices."

        But the coasters might stain the furniture.

      2. handleoclast Silver badge

        Re: Apple home furnishings range.

        The solution would be for Apple to produce its own range of coasters

        However, the speaker gets its bass performance by good acoustic coupling with a solid surface. Coasters tend to have slightly compressible (cork or cardboard) bases that would degrade the performance. A more solid coaster might work, except for the possibility of introducing a rattle or other distortion.

        Oh the irony. If you want to use your expensive iToy you have to throw away your expensive furniture and replace it with cheap tat made from chipboard and surfaced with a naff-looking veneer. How are you going to display your conspicuous consumption now?

        iHahahahahahahahaha

    4. Jtom Bronze badge

      Re: Apple home furnishings range.

      I suppose there is no truth to the story that the device was originally called the iSpy, but was dropped because that was the name of an old TV series. That Bill Cosby co-starred in it only adds a whole new level of creepiness to it.

  7. thames
    Joke

    Lace Doily

    Apple customers obviously need to buy themselves some lace doilies to set their collection of Apple things on. I'm sure their grandmothers could give them some other helpful decorating tips to complement the rest of their post-modern furnishings as well.

    Joke icon required, because Apple customers are not exactly noted for having a sense of humour when their latest eye-wateringly expensive fashion purchase goes wrong.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Lace Doily

      On the contrary, Apple is just about to announce the HomePod Base, a $150 wireless charger that the HomePod fits perfectly into. Entirely innocuous to all types of surfaces (*), the HomePod Base is the must-have purchase for this Spring.

      Don't miss your chance, order now !

      *) Doctors recommend not posing the HomePod Base on children of any age.

      1. Invidious Aardvark
        Trollface

        Re: Lace Doily

        Due to issues with the new HomePod Base leaving unsightly stains on organic surfaces, Apple is now proud to annouce the new HomePod Base Base for $300. The new HomePod Base Base, designed in California (*1) and made from 100% recycled iPods, is guaranteed to leave no marks on any approved surface (*2) and comes with a lifetime guarantee (*4).

        (*1) Manufactured in China.

        (*2) Currently only the HomePod Base Base iTable has been approved. This product may leave marks on any unapproved surface (*3).

        (*3) Currently only the Apple HomeFloor iFloor has been approved. HomeFloor iFloor is only compatible with any Apple iHouse approved building materials. Enquire at your local Genius bar for information on these products.

        (*4) Adulty mayfly lifetime.

        1. handleoclast Silver badge

          Re: Lace Doily

          Apple HomePod Base Base iTable resting on an Apple HomeFloor iFloor? Way too complicated. Use this instead.

    2. Ilsa Loving

      Re: Lace Doily

      I realize your post was tongue-in-cheek, however, looking at the general aesthetic of the HomePod, I think a nice white lace doily would actually look very nice and complement the unit.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: Lace Doily

        I realize your post was tongue-in-cheek, however, looking at the general aesthetic of the HomePod, I think a nice white lace doily would actually look very nice and complement the unit.

        How about one of those doll things with a lacy skirt that go over spare toilet rolls as seen in 3rd rate seaside resort guest houses?

    3. DanceMan

      Re: Lace Doily

      lace doily?

      ant-iMacassar Shirley......................

  8. JassMan Silver badge
    Trollface

    I'm absolutely shocked

    What is the world coming to? Apple producing a product without an "i" in the name! Even the original Macintosh had an "i" just not at the front. Surely it should have been the iHomePod.

    Also pretty shocking that they produce an item which damages natural products such as wood. Some pieces such as rosewood are becoming increasing rare and increasingly valuable. If I had a table worth 3 or 4 grand I would be seriously disgruntled that an overpriced speaker had ruined it.

    Has anyone tested to see if you get cancer from holding it your hand since it seems to be so toxic?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm absolutely shocked

      Surely it should have been the iHomePod.

      How about Homiepod. For homies everywhere.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: I'm absolutely shocked

      "Some pieces such as rosewood are becoming increasing rare and increasingly valuable. If I had a table worth 3 or 4 grand I would be seriously disgruntled that an overpriced speaker had ruined it."

      --->

      "Rosewoods are pricey

      And increasingly few

      If they'd ruined mine

      I'd be mad too"

    3. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: I'm absolutely shocked

      The Apple TV appears to be deficient in the I department too - I can imagine a certain broadcasting company getting annoyed if they had called it the iTV.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: I'm absolutely shocked

        iTV

        Apple would claim divine right

  9. fluffybunnyuk

    Ring-a-ring o' roses,

    A pocket full of posies,

    A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

    You all fall down.

  10. MadDog

    Can't believe a missed opportunity....

    Cue the release of the iCoaster ™ ©

  11. Lee D Silver badge

    Design should include product testing.

    Sure, you may not immediately realise that a material you're using stains wood, but surely that product's been in testing in some people's homes for at least, say, a year? And using materials that have data sheets and which the engineers are familiar with and have used before, or tested thoroughly.

    Apple's "design" for just about everything they do just means "designer" (i.e. we had some arty-farty bloke approve it and slapped $500 on the price). Every product they've ever had that I've come across has design problems... starting with the boxes that this stuff comes in (opened an iPhone 6 box today... same problem as the iPad Mini boxes... no fingerholes, internal vacuum on opening, bare glass-up iPhone floating on a tiny sliver of insert right at the top of the box, the first thing to smash if pressure is put on the large flat surface of the box, the first thing to fall out when you have to do the inevitable hard-pull-which-then-gives or slight-shake-to-coax-bottom-of-the-box-away - even nestled barely inside a rounded-corner depression only half the depth of the phone so it slides out perfectly the second you open the box and onto the floor. And then two inches of NOTHING underneath which could happily cushion the expensive product inside and/or something to hold it in place a bit better) and it continues through their product ranges, their accessories, their website, their OS, their GUI.

    Everything I touch that has Apple on it... I have a WTF moment within a minute, tops. "Hey, let's put a flat, flush-fitting, non-textured power button on the rear of a large screen that doesn't rotate, so you can't feel it without knowing precisely where it is, and make it so it's in the most inconvenient place possible to actually TURN ON or OFF the machine when you're sitting in front of it."

    The epitome of this - their "design" book, where they show off all their amazing "design". Which has a white spine with white text on it that you can't see from any kind of distance, because the indent is so subtle that it's lost in any kind of normal lighting. (Following another Apple trend, the book is £170, which It works out to 50p per page, by the way, or 37p per photo. I can only imagine they printed it out on the most expensive inkjet printer known to man. I don't even pay that for processing my own photos!)

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Design should include product testing.

      Nah. That would imply Apple products aren't Perfect right from the first concept.

    2. Swarthy Silver badge
      FAIL

      This is the same company that had nickel in their tablet backings, and were surprised when people with nickel allergies (not uncommon) had a bad reaction.

      Apple: It Just Works (for me, I don't know/care what your problem is)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my coffe mug leaves a ring on polished surfaces

    get over it - either use of mat or just fuck off.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: my coffe mug leaves a ring on polished surfaces

      Coffee mugs are hot when filled with fresh coffee - maybe hot enough to melt the surface of the polish.

      Coffee mugs are known for containing a brown liquid which is not unknown to slosh over the rim leaving a dirty deposit around the base of the mug.

      Neither of these are characteristics one would expect of a glorified loud speaker.

      Oops - there goes my coffee again--->

      1. psychonaut

        Re: my coffe mug leaves a ring on polished surfaces

        I'm guessing AdeyJay has an iCup (TM)

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: my coffe mug leaves a ring on polished surfaces

        Coffee mugs are hot when filled with fresh coffee

        Not having looked into the exact circumstances (and no, I am not going to either), is it possible that heat plays a part in this problem too? IIUC the power supply of the HomePod and many of the amplifiers are at the base of the unit. Silicone may be able to withstand quite a lot of heat, but it's an oily thing at heart.

        M.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: It is a speaker.

          It vibrates. It is probably rather "heavy". It will leave a physical mark if not a chemical one.

          (No idea if the silicone will polish off)

  13. Borg.King
    Facepalm

    Titter ye not...

    Apple's HomePod's bottoms ring leaves a white mark on your wood?

    Frankie Howerd is turning in his grave.

  14. 2+2=5 Silver badge
  15. Blofeld's Cat
    Megaphone

    One ring to rule them all ...

    Perhaps we could start a playlist ...

    Ring, Ring - Abba

    Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash

    Brown girl in the ring - Bony M

    Single Ladies (Put a ring on it) - Beyoncé

    ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One ring to rule them all ...

      Ring A Ding Ding - Frank Sinatra

      Ring of Bright Water - Val Doonican

      The Bells Are Ringing (for me and my gal/girl) - various

      Ring on Every Finger - LOCASH

      Ring On Her Finger - Lee Greenwood

      1. psychonaut

        Re: One ring to rule them all ...

        Get in the Ring - GnR

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: One ring to rule them all ...

      Der Ring des Nibelungen - Richard Wagner

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: One ring to rule them all ...

        "Der Ring des Nibelungen"

        The winner. It neatly encapsulates the Apple view of their position in the world. We're just waiting for the final scenes.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A ring on wood should be called a Prince Albert. NSFW

  17. The Nazz Silver badge

    Another for the jukebox, ooops, playlist

    Jimmy Buffet : If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me

    (a bonus for being topical?)

    Also, on topic, slightly .....

    What's that? We're cutting to an ad break, ooops sorry again, a sponsors message

    "Hello, i'm Heather Mills and i'm here to share with you my secret for smooth legs ......"Ro*sons Quick Drying Woodseal".

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Apple Ringpiece?

    ....no content supplied...

    1. psychonaut

      Re: The Apple Ringpiece?

      is that what they are calling their customers now?

  19. arctic_haze Silver badge

    The obligatory Soviet Russia joke

    In Soviet Russia, wood scratches the wiretap.

  20. Stoneshop Silver badge

    only began to hit shelves earlier this year.

    Which didn't cause stains (or dents, depending on the force of the impact) ?

  21. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Your fault

    It's not just that it's your fault for allowing your fruity hyper-evolved 8-track to stain your wooden surface, it's your fault for noticing. Apple have every right to sue you now for deliberately causing your wooden surface to accept a white stain-like ring from their device. Remember, you don't own the device, you just paid Apple a small amount of money for the right to use it until Apple decide to stop supporting its use. Buried deep in one of the volumes of the EULA is a clause that basically says that normal operation of the device is not defined.

    Apple now have every right to sue you and all furniture manufacturers out of existence for bringing the homepod into disrepute.

  22. hplasm Silver badge
    Big Brother

    One ring-

    Half an iMysteron.

    "We know that you can hear us , Earthmen. (We can also hear you. All the time...)'

    iSpy.

  23. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Coat

    You're placing it wrong!

  24. FIA

    Oh great

    So now we've got days of increasingly breathless and mainstream media coverage by supposedly sensible adults who've managed to make it all the way to maturity yet seemingly never learnt about wood.*

    One possible solution is to place a coaster or other protective surface between the speaker and the wood.

    What? You mean one of those things you put under things to stop them damaging surfaces? Who knew??

    * Really....

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Oh great

      Apparently that distorts the bass from the pod and makes it sound bad

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Oh great

        "Apparently that distorts the bass from the pod and makes it sound bad"

        Audiophile shops will shortly be selling special mats with unidirectional fibres, once they've managed to cost reduce them to $100.

      2. Colin Wilson 2

        Re: Oh great

        "Apparently that distorts the bass from the pod and makes it sound bad"

        That's what the BBC said - but I call BS. If the speaker had metal spikes as 'feet' then maybe. But seeing as it has a squishy silicone ring it's not going to be relying on that to transmit the bass.

        Back to songs with Ring in them, lets go back to the seventies with

        - Ring my bell - Anita Ward

        - Telephone Man - Meri Wilson. Ok there's no Ring in the title, but plenty in the lyrics and it's long overdue for a revival!

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          Re: Oh great

          Well, it's apparently got decent bass and vibrates, so a coaster is going to create an extra layer for the vibrations. Makes sense.

  25. David Nash Silver badge
    Joke

    It doesn't leave a ring...

    ...unless you lift it up or otherwise move it.

    Why do that? Buy it and put it in the appointed place forever.

  26. BongoJoe

    Apple

    I am surprised that Apple don't make a coaster from, er, Apple wood.

  27. FrozenShamrock

    Or, don't be a silly prat who buys such useless crap.

  28. pauhit

    devils advocate

    To be fair to apple, leaving small barely visible rings on specific surfaces (which are generally easy to damage anyhow) which also go away over time, hardly counts as a critical failure.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: devils advocate

      After placing the device there for 20 minutes and having your furniture damaged/discoloured/devalued - yes, this is an issue. Imagine if your phone did this. There would be riots in the streets.

  29. Alistair Silver badge
    Joke

    Wait --

    its the silicone thing on the bottom what's causing the problem?

    turn it upside down?

    and. well. yeah -- we're back to that line.

    /s

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