Sunday, October 09, 2005

Apple admits to iPod Nano faults

Electronics firm Apple has admitted there have been problems with its new iPod Nano music player, after a string of complaints about damaged screens.

The smaller version of the popular iPod was hailed as a design breakthrough when it was unveiled a few weeks ago, with the cheapest model costing £140. Apple says a manufacturing problem has left screens on one batch vulnerable to cracks and is offering replacements. It says the problem affects fewer than a tenth of 1% of all Nanos shipped. However, it denies claims the Nanos are more prone to scratching than other models. Owners have been complaining about cracked, scratched or inexplicably failing screens, sometimes within hours of buying the machine.

Customer anger

A website set up by Nano owner Matthew Peterson to collate complaints with a view to forcing Apple to address the issue received 30 e-mails per hour. He closed down the site after Apple acknowledged there was a problem with some Nano screens, posting a message entitled "Apple does the right thing". At the launch of the Nano at the start of September, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the "impossibly small" gadget - which is the thickness of five credit cards - by pulling the device out of his pocket. But others have found carrying the device in this manner has resulted in inexplicable damage to the music player, which Apple's UK website sells for £140 for a model which can store up to 500 songs and £180 for one which stores 1,000. One fifteen-year old, who had saved up to buy his Nano, found the machine suffered a cracked screen within three hours of buying it. "I pulled my iPod out and my heart dropped. The LCD was half destroyed, but there is no visible scratch or mark on the outside of the iPod," he wrote. Another irate customer said: "If I had done something to damage my iPod I wouldn't be as angry as I am because it would be my fault. But I haven't done anything," he wrote. Mr Peterson, a financial consultant and loyal Apple fan, described how his Nano was damaged.

Too fragile

"My Nano broke on day four. The screen that is. It shattered. It was in my pocket as I was walking and I sat down. No, I didn't sit on it, it was just in my pocket just as all iPods before it have done," he said. He said the Nano was too fragile and should be recalled and improved. iPod repair company iPod ResQ announced a temporary price increase on its iPod Nano screen replacement service due to what it describes as "overwhelming demand". Apple says the problem with screens on some Nanos is quality issue rather than a design fault and is offering to replace the machines affected. But a spokeswoman told BBC News Website the new machines were not more prone to scratching than other models. She said: "The iPod Nano is made from the same high quality polycarbonate plastic as the very popular fourth generation iPod. "If customers are concerned about scratching we suggest they use one of the many iPod Nano cases becoming available." UK gadget magazine Stuff told the BBC News website it had had no reader complaints about the Nano. Managing editor Adam Vaughan said his experience of the player was that it was "not as fragile as it looked". It had withstood considerable wear and tear, including being dropped.
"Like any gadget, it has got a bit scratched but that's about it," he said.

After buying an iPod Mini two days before the iPod Nano came out, this news made me feel good. HAHA.

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