One of the biggest bugaboos with the original Apple HomePod was that its silicone base would leave white rings on stained furniture — a result of the oils in the wood being moved by the smart speaker.
Because Apple went with a different material for the bottom of the HomePod 2 — and I initially didn't see any changes in my console — I was reasonably certain that the problem was fixed. But, I was wrong.
As with the original, for my HomePod 2 review, I set it up on a media console I have in front of my TV; there was a HomePod 2 at each end, with my turntable and an Apple TV 4K in the middle. It's a handy setup, and let me test the speakers for their ability to play music and provide audio when watching TV.
After seeing a report on MacRumors, which itself was reporting on a video from Marques Brownlee — which showed that the second-generation HomePod indeed left marks — I went downstairs to check on my own review units to see if they too, had messed up my stuff.
I first lifted up the white HomePod Apple sent me — the color that Brownlee said left a ring on his furniture — but thankfully, the wood on mine looked the same as before.
But then I went over to the black HomePod and lifted it up.
Like a halo left by a miscreant angel, there appeared on my furniture a white ring, just like with the original HomePod. Crap.
I then went back to the white HomePod 2, and on second inspection I did see some staining, although it was much less pronounced.
The white ring wasn't as clear as the ring that the original HomePod left on my furniture, but it was still visible. To be fair, it not a problem unique to Apple. Pretty much any silicone base will damage your furniture, as I found out with the Sonos One; however, it has much smaller feet, so it's not as pronounced. (The now-discontinued Google Home Max also left a mark.)
In the official cleaning and care documentation for the original HomePod, it does mention that the silicone base can leave marks on wood furniture. However, there's no documentation about the new HomePod, and its harder plastic bottom gave me the false sense that it wouldn't affect my furniture in the same manner as the original HomePod.
The good news is that the marks left by the original HomePod and Sonos One have long since faded away.
I've reached out to Apple for comment. In the meantime, I'm placing a coaster underneath the Apple HomePod 2 — as I should have done in the first place.