iPod nano ‘screen issues’ really just FUD?

By SteveJack

For all I know about advanced polymers, Apple’s iPod nano screen could be made of clear Jello-brand gelatin. All I know is that the screen surface seems very similar, except for size, to the iPod and the iPod mini’s screen. I could scratch the iPod or the iPod mini’s screen to the same effect as I could scratch the iPod nano screen, that much seems “clear” to me. Not that I’m going to go scratching up my screens. You see, I keep my iPods in cases right out of the box. I’m funny that way; I like to protect my tech gadgets and I don’t expect them not to get marred up if I mistreat them.

Now, I’m not saying that people are mistreating them, but from using iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos (and cell phones, Palms, etc.), I can tell you the screens can be scratched. And scratched pretty much with equal force in my opinion. I wonder, have the alleged iPod nano owners who claim to be having problems with their screens ever owned an iPod before?

Much is being made of iPodReqQ’s note on their webpage: “We are experieincing [sic] a temporary price increase on the nano LCD repair due to LCD availability and overwhelming demand.” Imagine if the overwhelming demand is due to the massive amount of iPod nano’s being sold and not the alleged “screen issue.” Imagine further that “due to LCD availability” actually means that it’s hard for iPodResQ to get screens because Apple’s using up all of the screens of that size and specification to make iPod nano units, not because iPodResQ needs so many screens to correct alleged iPod nano “screen issues.”

Now let’s get crazy! Imagine that you work for one company or another that’s staked a large part of their future on competing with Apple’s iPod and/or iTunes Music Store and is staring at the same fate as Rio square in the face. You know that you can’t compete and you know you’re about to be out of business sooner than later. Would you and your coworkers actually stoop to anonymously posting on Apple’s support and other websites that you’re having so-called “iPod nano screen issues?” Would you? Who knows? I just bring it up because I’m sitting here looking and poking at a 3G iPod screen, a two-month old iPod mini screen, and a 4GB iPod nano screen and they all seem pretty much the same “hardness” to me.

Hey, maybe I just got lucky and got the one nano with a super-hard screen. Maybe I’m just a conspiracy theorist. Maybe I just enjoy corporate espionage novels, iPod cases, FUD dissemination, Evangeline Lilly in blue (or any other color), and thinking about what people might do to stave off pink slips for awhile longer.

Yeah, maybe I’m crazy and Apple totally forgot to test the iPod nano during development and before they committed the design for the manufacture of tens of million of units. That would be bad for Apple, huh? I wonder how bad the negative publicity will be for Apple even if this is all just ginned up nonsense? Maybe even worse than if it were true? Maybe not, who really knows? Anyway, all of this this iPod nano “screen issue” stuff sure does make for a good story or a thousand variations of a story, though, doesn’t it?

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews and iPodDailyNews Opinion sections.

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of MacDailyNews or iPodDailyNews. MacDailyNews and iPodDailyNews are Apple Store and Apple iTunes Music Store affiliates.]

Related articles:
Alleged problems surfacing with Apple iPod Nano screen – September 26, 2005
Site reports iPod nano screen failures – September 23, 2005
Speck unveils nine new cases for Apple iPod nano – September 14, 2005


  1. If the other Steve hadn’t fished his nano out of his watch pocket at its introduction this sort of “opinion” would have more weight. Disclaimers are common in advertising. Jobs should have mentioned “don’t do this at home”, or else expect that many would.

  2. There is definitely truth to this issue, and the choice of materials for the Nano case is a design flaw. Otherwise, Apple support would not be saying “they are looking into resolving this issue.” Call your local Apple stroe and ask an employee how many returns they’ve taken in.. or better yet, go and visit your local Apple store and take a look at the Nano’s on display. They look like HELL! No, I’m sorry the full sized white iPods and Mini’s never had this problem. This is specific to the Nano.

    To SteveJack: Have you seen the Nano commercial? I’m sure you have… Try flipping your nano around in your hands for a few minutes like the magician does in the commercial.. After that put the nano in your coin pocket of your levi jeans and walk around for five minutes. Don’t shove it in there with keys. Simply place it in their comfortably. Go ahead… DO it… I dare you! Then come back here and tell me that the scratch issue is all FUD!

  3. If you go and look at the Apple discussion boards, you’ll see tons of posters there with only 1 total posts in there making all kinds of ridiculous claims about nanos with scratches. I’m beginning to think that most of this is bogus. All I know is that I own a nano and it hasn’t been any more scratch prone than my 20GB iPod has been. I’ve put my nano in my jeans pocket several times (with no coins or keys with it though of course) and it hasn’t scratched it at all.

  4. The thing that gets forgotten in all of this “controversy” is that it’s possible to go to almost any hardware store and get a polymer-based “glass polish” that will remove the scratches. Then, after you polish out the scratches, put the f***ing thing in a case, dammit!

    MW: “part”, as in, if these whiners would just use a tiny part of their tiny brains…

  5. Lance, I agree with you about the Apple discussion board, I’m sure there are a lot of bogus posts, maybe by the competition. Most of these have been done in the last couple of days since this story began catching the attention of the media, but that does not change the fact that there are at least 350 posts by longtime posters like myself with legitimate concerns and claims.

    As for your Nano, well all i can say is you are one of the lucky ones, because mine is very disappointing.

  6. You shouldn’t have to buy “glass polish” just to be able to delicately handle an electronic device.

    As far as a case, well if it’s mandatory to have a case (and it appears that it is) then it should not be an optional accessory, it should be included in the box. And cases should have been available from day one of the Nano’s introduction.. Apple dropped the ball on this one.

  7. The black nanos are very bad about showing fingerprints, but I haven’t noticed any real issues with scratches though and I’ve had mine for over 2 weeks now. This “issue” with scratches is being blown way, way out of proportion. I have no idea what the motivation is behind it, but it does smell of FUD and propaganda. I too have noticed that almost all of the posts on Apple’s boards are being made by new users with no previous posts too.

  8. Like ‘monomonop’, I too have experienced an onslaught from the seemingly innocent little iPod Nano I purchased:

    The Nano killed my best mule.
    The Nano ate my homework.
    The Nano threw a spanner in the hole.
    And finally, the Nano stole my car keys, went out on a drunken rampage and wrecked my new car.

    What is Apple going to do about this!?!

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