HomePod damages wooden furniture; Apple suggests choosing a different surface

Apple's HomePod is marking up furniture, and the internet isn't happy

Should you give the smart speaker pride of place on a mantelpiece, right next to your favorite sports star's bobblehead? However, there are plenty of other smart speakers on the market that are just as popular, including Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Amazon's lineup of voice-enabled speakers, such as Amazon Echo. When Pogue enquired with Apple as what the audio sources for each of the devices on show, he discovered that the HomePod was connected wirelessly using AirPlay, the Echo Bluetooth, Ethernet for the Sonos and input miniplug for the Google Home.

Following a discovery that the HomePod smart speaker can damage some wood furniture, it appears as though the Sonos One may also leave white marks. In a statement to Wirecutter, an Apple representative said that the "marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface". Most of these are aimed at home users, but many can also be useful in an office or commercial environments such as hotels or restaurants (and, of course, majority also support the Amazon Echo too).

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Oil-based finishes are common on any wooden surface that's expected to come into contact with food, like cutting blocks or butcher-block kitchen countertops. The integrated HomePod cable can be repaired for just £25, although most users would still have preferred one that could be removed... The company further added that the marks will dissipate "after several days" once the HomePod has been moved if the marks persist then wiping the surface will suffice.

Apple updated its help page to suggest "placing your HomePod on a different surface" if customers were concerned. If they still don't go away, Apple says to "clean the surface with the furniture manufacturer's recommended cleaning process".

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Apple has a long-standing reputation for embedding moments of design cleverness and even delight into its products, and the HomePod offers both, from setup to sound quality. It's incredibly unusual for Apple to sell its products at margins smaller than its competitors, but the sound and microphone equipment within the HomePod is driving that price up.

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The United Kingdom is the second of Apple's three launch countries to begin deliveries, in-store pick-ups and sales of HomePod . To put it to test, I sampled an eclectic mix of music: a lineup of artists that included Sinatra, Springsteen, Santana and Sia.

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