Isolated reports of iPod mini ‘sound problems’ surface

“Apple is looking into reports of sound problems with its popular iPod mini digital music player. According to online postings, some people have had trouble with the headphone jack, leading to screeching sounds and static. Apple said it was aware of ‘a few isolated reports,’ saying the device was covered by a one-year warranty,” BBC News reports.

“The credit card sized player, launched in the US in February, can store up to 1,000 songs and costs $249. According to comments on the enthusiast site iPodLounge, the problems with the player relate to the 10 connector pins that link the main electronics board in the device to a smaller one that attaches to the headphones socket,” BBC News reports.

“‘If a customer has any technical issues, they should contact AppleCare,’ an Apple spokesman said. In postings, users said that the player started making a crackling noise after about a month of use,” BBC News reports.

“Last month, the California company said it had delayed the global launch of the player by three months due to high demand in the US. Apple may release sales figures for the iPod mini when it reports earning on Wednesday. The player had more than 100,000 orders before it even went on sale,” BBC News reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple fans should pray that this problem is not widespread and is, in fact, an isolated problem affecting only a small number of users. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.

27 Comments

  1. i would be concerned about this. 5 apple stores in the bay area california have all had ipod mini demos that exhibited this problem. 4 out of 6 of my friends that own minis periodically have this problem. for the most part it goes away after a reset but it usually comes back

  2. Thought this find might be of interest. This company has an iPod and iPod mini Auto cassette adapter for $6.93 + s/h. Not sure if the problems with the iPod mini are related to the earbuds or not, but mine plays fine and especially so through my car stereo system.

    I mention this because I bought a Belkin adapter a few months ago (for over $25! delivered) and the wires shorted shortly thereafter. Although Belkin provides a lifetime guarantee, it’s a major PITA to have to send the adapter back. Anyway, here’s the link for anyone interested.

    Ordered this on a Monday had it in my hands that Wednesday! Actually sounds better than the Belkin, too, but it’s black not white, like the Belkin.
    BFD!

    http://www.d3designgroup.com/ipodcassetteadap.html

  3. Yikes. Sounds like something wear and tearish, so it might happen on all minis eventually, and hard to fix given the teeny chassis. As much as I think Apple is the Sharper Image of computing, I hope this is not the can of worms it might be. The whole market is in the dumper today, hard to say if this is affecting aapl, which is also down (1.74% currently).

  4. The word is that the problem is the ten connector pins between the earphones jack and the circuit board. This could take a major re-design to fix. A user on another site who opened up his mini to isolate the problem said that if they just had a cable with some play in it (flex) rather than a rigid connection that the problem should be solved. This is gonna cost Apple some bucks to implement tho. Maybe the shortage of Mini Hard Disks was a blessing in disguise since it has kept down the total number of units out there.

  5. I had this problem happen this past weekend. Frist crackling and now total distortion. I emailed Apple Care Support and am waiting confirmation that a box is being sent to me to return it for repairs or replacemnet under warranty.

    I have a theory on how this may have happened, at least to my mini. Here goes:

    Since I’ve had the mini, I’ve probably put it on my belt about 90 times (and removed it the same amount) using the Apple supplied belt clip that I pre attached to the player. I press against the spring based clip to open it and then slide the mini on to my belt. To do this pressure is made with the thumb against the clip while the index and middle fingers press against the front of the iPod just above the screen. This pressure I’ve placecd on on the iPod possibly has dislodged or done damage to the insides of the mini as reported at iPodlounge where a person took his malfunctioning mini apart and discovered the problem with the solder/board/jack/connector. People that use the armband may not be handling the mini in the same way and so things may not go awry. Mini jacks on equipment are some of the most problematical, not just on Apple products. There has to be a better design somewhere!

  6. Still might be a bad batch and not the entire production. Curious if these are all made in China and not Taiwan as my Mini was.

    I ordered my Mini the day they were announced (01/06/04) and received it the day before they officially went on sale in retail stores. (02/15/04)

    My unit has been great, aside from two software hangs early on. I even dropped mine face down in a parking lot (Came off my belt when getting out of my car) and it still works perfectly. Fortunately I had it in the DLO leather case so the finish didn’t get a scratch. :o)

    Sounds like a re-design may need to be looked into, but I am still not sure if this is not just a bad batch of Mini’s from the latest Mini factory to come online. (China). All first run units like mine were made in Taiwan.

  7. “Still might be a bad batch and not the entire production. Curious if these are all made in China and not Taiwan as my Mini was.”

    In regards to manufacturing, my now defective mini says “Assembled in Taiwan.” I don’t believe they’re made anyplace else at the moment.

  8. Well, then maybe the Taiwan assembled minis are having the problem. I got mine at my local Apple Store on the first day of sale. Perhaps it’s only a batch, but contiuous usesage and squeezing of the iPod case may still cause some units to develop the problem.

    I tried to get a replacement two weeks ago because of another issue. The damn scroll wheel is too sensitive. It skips over lines and won’t stop when I want it to. I make sure my finger is not touching the wheel but it still tends to move to another line on the screen. The Apple Store would not take it back where I live saying this behavior was “normal”. When I showed them that this was not happening to the demos on display they said “Well, they have been used a lot.” Say what? Has anybody noticed that Apple Store employees are not as nice as they were when the stores first opened?

  9. anyway, before you guys lay into that, yes I know they operate completely independent of each other.

    The mini’s I ordered for myself and my siblings were all manufactured in Taiwan and none have had this problem.

  10. Apple has just sent emails to people waiting for the mini that they will be delayed another 3 weeks. They are offering a 15 GB iPod for the same price and shipping within 24 hours. Seems to me there is definately a problem and that it may get worse for the current mini’s before it gets better. Hate to be negative but it may be a design flaw and may start happening across the board. Hopefully, it’s a manufacturing problem but Apple is certainly not be forthcoming about it. I’m still waiting for notification that a return box has been sent to me. I’ve been waiting 2 days now.

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