The HomePod, Apple’s opening salvo in the war against Amazon Echo and Google Home, is off to an inconspicuous start. Despite fawning reviews about the speaker’s sound quality, the HomePod failed to sell out, and a number of features like multi-room support or stereo pairing don’t work at launch.
To make a bad launch worse, it was revealed this week that the $349 speaker can leave a white ring on some wooden surfaces. Apple tried to downplay the issue, saying that it’s ‘not unusual‘ for a speaker to do that, but by that point, the ‘Ring of doom’ narrative was already too strong.
So it’s just a little too close to home that Apple launched a new page on its website today promoting the Apple Watch’s activity features called “Close Your Rings.” You have to assume it was a long-planned addition, and on any other day, no one would notice or care. But when Apple’s fighting a PR battle against the HomePod leaving rings, telling people to close them might not be the best idea.
“Close Your Rings” is Apple’s not-quite-so-catchy version of “Just Do It:” it’s supposed to be a motivational slogan for people who wouldn’t otherwise work out, but are now being encouraged to do so because of some digital nagging. The name derives from the Apple Watch’s activity tracker, which uses a growing circle to map your activity for the day: When you hit your goal, the ring is closed.