The HomePod is Apple’s very cute, very chic smart speaker, but how easy is it to fix? Not very, according to the latest iFixit teardown, which involves 19 involved steps to dismantle the hefty speaker. The iFixit team gives the speaker a repairability score of 1 out of 10. Apple’s repair cost for the HomePod is pricey, too: an out-of-warranty repair from Apple will cost $279 in the US, which is 80 percent of the price for a brand-new HomePod. Now we know why. (Thankfully, replacing just the power cable is far cheaper.)
To dismantle the speaker, iFixit used a heat gun to peel panels off and a knife to cut through 3D wire mesh. (The mesh can be peeled off undamaged with a nifty drawstring that’s attached, iFixit notes). iFixit then used a small hacksaw to saw off the top of the speaker to access the woofer. When a saw comes out, you know something’s not meant for tinkering.
Parts of the speaker are also glued shut, but iFixit managed to get down to the two-part power supply, which it says is composed of an inner block (which handles the AC/DC conversion) and an outer ring that distributes power to all eight of the speakers:
The team was able to analyze several components including a horn-loaded tweeter that iFixit says gives HomePod its “precise sound.” The speaker also contains components that reduce air pressure, helping to prevent audio distortion.
Though it’s not easily repairable, iFixit says HomePod is at least built like a tank and is extremely durable. The main point of entry at the top of the speaker, iFixit says, looks like it’s designed to be twisted off, but the they weren’t able to find a non-destructive way to get inside, so they had to resort to saws and knives. The HomePod’s abysmal repairability score means you should probably take good care of it — unless you want to pay the hefty fees Apple is asking for. (AppleCare+ is available for $39 if you prefer not having to deal with them.)
We gave the HomePod a 7.5 out of 10, praising its sound quality and design, but we knocked off points because of Siri’s limited functionality and the fact that Apple’s speaker can’t yet tell different users apart by voice.