HomePod’s embarrasing ‘white ring’ problem on wood surfaces should find quick fix

The vibrations from Apple’s HomePod that are leaving a white silicone ring on wood surfaces treated with oil have marred the product’s launch, but Business Insider thinks a fix won’t be too difficult to implement, according to industry experts. Apple spent a lot of time and effort on getting the sound right, but Ignazio Moresco, a product design expert who has worked at Frog Design, Microsoft and Ericsson, said a “rigorous QA process” should have caught the issue before it was released to consumers. “They didn’t test the product enough and in the right variety of circumstances, especially considering that a wood surface is a very likely support for the product,” Moresco said.
Apple has been flooded with complaints about the problem, advising customers to follow the usual recommended cleaning regimen for the affected surfaces and claiming the mark could “improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface.” If it doesn’t,though, Apple is left recommending a costly (or time consuming) sanding and re-varnishing of the surface, which has led to some pointed criticism on Twitter. As for the future of the HomePod’s silicone foot, Gregor Berkowitz, a product development consultant for various consumer electronics brands, said Apple will probably have to re-tool its manufacturing to use a different kind of elastomer — which could take from two to six weeks once Apple engineers figure out which material best fixes this problem while still properly absorbing the HomePod’s vibrations. “I’m sure that there’s now some untreated, oil wood surfaces in someone’s test lab now,” Berkowitz said.

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