Don't break your HomePod (repairs are crazy-expensive)

Apple has confirmed HomePod repair pricing, and the short advice is simple: try really, really hard not to break it. The Siri-powered smart speaker comes with a year of limited hardware warranty, which covers the hardware going wrong of its own accord. However, if you drop your HomePod, damage it cosmetically such as ripping the speaker mesh, or encounter some other non-warranty issue, it's going to get expensive.

Indeed, you're looking at a $279 out-of-warranty fee, Apple has said today. If you don't take the HomePod into your nearest Genius Bar or Apple Authorized Service Provider, the Cupertino firm will send you a shipping box instead. Shipping, mind, will set you back a further $19.95.

Considering the HomePod itself costs $349, that out-of-warranty fee certainly doesn't seem cheap. Indeed, it makes AppleCare+ for the smart speaker seem all the more appealing. That covers not only what the regular warranty would include, but throws in up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage too.

Two years of AppleCare+ for HomePod will set you back $39; it also extends the complimentary 90 day phone technical support to two years, too. It's worth remembering, mind, that each accidental damage repair will be subject to a $39 processing fee as well. If you don't buy AppleCare+ for HomePod when you first order the speaker, you can add it any time in the ninety days following that purchase.

Now, a home speaker is certainly going to be less likely to be dropped than, say, an iPhone X. Many people will simply plug their HomePod in on day one and then never move it. That's a far cry from a small, fairly slippery glass device that's designed to go with you everywhere.

Nonetheless Apple has made HomePod with some degree of portability in mind. While there may not be a battery inside, nor a convenient grab-handle, the compact speaker is certainly easy to pick up and carry to another room. It's designed to automatically re-configure its tuning in the process, too, with an accelerometer spotting that it has been moved and the audio room assessment running through another check when you first start playing music in the new location.

Meanwhile though Apple's mesh fabric cover for the HomePod – available in white and Space Gray – may be acoustically transparent, its heavily textured surface may still catch the attention of your pets. As someone with a cat who does enjoy testing her claws on furniture, the fact that – unlike with Amazon's latest Echo or Google's Home – you can't remove the HomePod's fabric cover yourself and swap it for a new one is a little ominous.

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