Apple replaces iPod nano cracked screens; handful of units affected, WSJ: ‘barrage of complaints’

The Wall Street Journal today is reporting that Apple will offer to replace iPod nano screens that cracked too easily due to a vendor quality control issue. Users have been posting complaints on the Internet about cracked screens and scratched cases. A spokesman for Apple told the Journal that the iPod nano screen cracking problem has affected less than one-tenth of one percent of the devices shipped.

[UPDATE: 10:31 am ET: Note: Yesterday, MacCentral’s Jim Dalrymple reported that Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller said, “This is a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in a small number of units,” said Schiller. “In fact, this issue has affected less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the total iPod nano units that we’ve shipped. It is not a design issue.“]

Apple has high hopes for the Nano music player designed to replace the iPod mini and the product, which sells for about $200 and up. It has received largely favorable reviews.

Full article here.

[UPDATE: 10:35 am ET: CNN gets it right, “Apple has admitted there are problems with its new iPod Nano portable music player, but the technology giant insists the number of units affected by the flaws are minimal… Apple acknowledged Wednesday that there are problems with the new iPod. However, a company spokesman said they were not the results of a design flaw. ‘This is a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in a small number of units,’ Phil Schiller said… ‘In fact, this issue has affected less than one tenth of one percent of the total iPod Nano units that we’ve shipped. It is not a design issue.’ Schiller said iPod Nano owners who found their screens were cracked would get their music player replaced free of charge.” Full article here.]

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The Wall Street Journal’s blurb on their “Technology Main” web page says, “Apple said it will replace defective screens that cracked too easily on its new iPod nano music player, following a barrage of complaints from users.” Barrage? (NBC’s Today show reported on the issue this morning. As we’d rather use Windows XP than watch that program, we caught it only while switching through channels. Host Ann Curry said something similar to the Wall Street Journal’s “barrage” comment. Let’s say that Apple has shipped 2 million iPod nano units (they sold 6 million+ in 90 days last quarter, nano’s been shipping for 20 days ) and, even though most reports we’ve seen say “several hundred users have complained,” let’s be overly generous and say that 2,000 users complained. Since when did 2,000 out of 2,000,000 come to mean “barrage?”

The American Heritage Dictionary defines “barrage,” in part, as “An overwhelming, concentrated outpouring, as of words: a barrage of criticism.

What idea will Joe Six-pack come away with after reading the WSJ and/or subjecting himself the Today show? That most or all Apple iPod nano units are defective and maybe he should steer clear of that Christmas present, when, literally and in reality, a handful of “early adopter” users had a problem due to a vendor quality control issue that Apple has identified and promised to rectify.

Look at the identical image and the captions below. Both are technically correct, but they tell very different stories:

What’s our point? Digest the information you get very carefully and get it from as many different sources as you can; there are some really hideous excuses for journalism going on out there. If reporters and writers and ditzy teleprompter readers can’t stop themselves from hyping or blowing iPod nano screen issues out of proportion, what happens when they’re reporting about something that’s actually important?

MacDailyNews and iPodDailyNews are Apple Store and Apple iTunes Music Store affiliates. If we did not believe in the quality of any Apple product, we would not advertise that Apple product and we would tell you about it. That is not the case with the iPod nano which we can confidently recommend for users who wish to own a very light, very tiny digital audio player that holds up to 1,000 songs. We do recommend protective cases for all iPod models, unless you don’t care about cosmetic changes including scratches, fingerprints, etc. to the iPod case. Do not eat iPod shuffle.

[UPDATE: 10:21 am ET: Clarification: the The Wall Street Journal’s blurb on their “Technology Main” web page says, “Apple said it will replace defective screens that cracked too easily on its new iPod nano music player, following a barrage of complaints from users.” This is the only “news” accessible to “Joe Six-pack” readers without subscribing to The Wall Street Journal. The information that an Apple spokesman told the Journal that the iPod nano screen cracking problem has affected less than one-tenth of one percent of the devices shipped is ensconced in the article for subscriber’s only. Apply our example of the image and differing captions above.]

Related articles:
Apple shares fall on iPod nano screen issues – September 28, 2005
Apple responds to iPod nano screen issues – September 27, 2005
iPod nano ‘screen issues’ really just FUD? – September 26, 2005
flawedmusicplayer.com website alleging iPod nano ‘screen flaws’ hosted on Apple’s .Mac – September 26, 2005
SiliconValley.com editor: ‘The iPod nano is fast becoming Apple’s next Cube’ – September 26, 2005
Alleged problems surfacing with Apple iPod Nano screen – September 26, 2005
Site reports iPod nano screen failures – September 23, 2005
Thurrott: Apple iPod nano is almost perfect – September 23, 2005
Inside Apple’s iPod nano; how healthy are Apple’s margins? – September 22, 2005
CNET iPod nano review: ‘Sets new standards, stretches boundaries of tech, Apple’s done it again’ – September 16, 2005
The New York Times’ Pogue states iPod’s Law: the impossible is possible – September 14, 2005
Associated Press praises Apple iPod nano, takes swipe at Microsoft WMA-based also-ran music services – September 14, 2005
Apple’s music competition having tough time and the iPod nano won’t help them – September 14, 2005
One of big stars at Microsoft’s PDC show: Apple’s iPod nano; Microsoft reps ‘in awe’ – September 14, 2005
Piper Jaffray: Apple seeing high demand for iPod nano – September 14, 2005
Australian IT: Apple iPod nano ‘a little bar of techno-joy’ – September 14, 2005
Apple iPod nano takes a beating and keeps on beating – September 12, 2005
Apple’s iPod nano: The ‘thin lady’ sings unwelcome iTune to competitors – September 09, 2005
Hands on with Apple iPod nano – September 09, 2005
Mossberg: Apple iPod nano ‘beautiful, incredibly thin, and exceeds Apple’s performance specs’ – September 08, 2005
Apple’s iPod nano will make competitors whimper, Motorola’s ROKR inexplicably bland – September 07, 2005
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘iPod Nano is a hit,’ Motorola ROKR ‘simply doesn’t have enough Apple in it’ – September 07, 2005
Jupiter analyst Gartenberg: ‘the market is going to go for Apple iPod nano in a big way’ – September 07, 2005
Analyst: iPod nano ‘could be Apple’s next home run’ – September 07, 2005
Video of Steve Jobs introducing iPod nano, ROKR iTunes phone now available online – September 07, 2005
Apple’s Steve Jobs predicts ultra-thin iPod nano ‘will become the highest volume iPod in the world’ – September 07, 2005
Apple’s iPod nano will make competitors whimper, Motorola’s ROKR inexplicably bland – September 07, 2005
Apple introduces iPod nano – September 07, 2005

47 Comments

  1. Barrage out of control.

    They used barrage balloons in England in WW2, to keep the cables up which stopped low flying Gerry aircraft. Maybe this offer of Apple’s will stop lowdown, lying, FUD spreaders.

  2. More provocative FUD from today’s Guardian:

    Apple admits problems with iPod Nano
    ptember 28, 2005

    Apple today admitted that its new iPod Nano was subject to battery failure and scratched screens.
    The electronics giant confirmed reports that the critically-acclaimed music player suffered from “unexpected failures” in its colour screen, and has offered a free replacement to all customers affected by faulty Nanos.

  3. Remember, these are the same people who declared New Orleans a rape, gun infested, sniper infested, dead bodies everywhere, and gang roaming hell hole a few weeks ago. All, I might add, with George W. Bush’s approval……The TV media is going down and they can’ stand being ignored…….

    Glad to see Apple step up to the plate on this one……

  4. Well in all fairness 2000 complaints my not be a barrage, but it is certainly not a handful either. And there are no where near 2 million units sold so far. Remember black nano’s are sold out everywhere, but the ratio of white to black units shipped was 8 to 1. Also Apple severly underestimated the demand for the 4 gig version in any color. There are 2 gig units just about everywhere.

  5. Whoa, let’s hold up on the over-sensitivity and the persecution complex here.

    Let’s say that 2000 units are affected by this problem, based on the 1 in 1000 ratio that Apple are stating. That’s still $4 million worth of units. And to the 2000 people who are landed with a lemon, it could take a lot of pleasure out of a gift or just an everyday purchase.

    In short, all things are relative: 1 in 1000 is better than 1 in 100, but it isn’t good enough if you’re the 1 in question. If Ford shipped 100,000 cars, and 100 of them had a serious quality problem which rendered them unusable, we’d all throw our hands up in horror and ask why American/European car construction isn’t up to Japanese standards – why should the iPod nano be held to a lower standard just because it costs $200?

    And once again, I find myself wondering if MDN’s take would be quite so rabid if it weren’t an Apple Store affiliate.

  6. “What idea will Joe Six-pack come away with after reading the WSJ and/or subjecting himself the Today show?”

    Well, based on what the article said, they will probably come away with the idea that the problem is very limited and Apple is fixing all of the problems.

    “the iPod nano screen cracking problem has affected less than one-tenth of one percent of the devices shipped.”

    Had they not mentioned the scope of the problem, then I would agree that they are spreading FUD. And the term “barrage” is accurately descriptive of the response.

    If the media sources are guilty of blowing it out of proportion, MDN is also guilty for trying to make it seem like less of a problem than it actually may be.

  7. Mike,

    “Of the devices shipped,” not “sold.” See what MDN/iPodDN meant about reading carefully?

    It’s but a handful of users whose complaints have been amplified by the repetition of thousands of blogs and “traditional” (retarded) media morons.

    MW: “blown” (as in, “blown” way out of proportion.)

  8. The major problem with your analogy there MCCFR is that Ford has actually done just that on several occassions (Pinto, Explorer, Crown Victoria, Focus, etc, etc, etc). Plus, I didn’t see them offering free exchanges like Apple is doing here either…

  9. Get off the Apple Sauce people!!!! What the thousands who have cracked screens are telling you is that there really is a problem with Nano screens–even apple nanowits shouldnt have too hard a time figuringthat out. But seriously folks–as I have been saying for years–Apple has a problem with all of its screens–they are all delicate. The lap top screens are delicate. I first noticed this years ago that Apple screens in places like Compusa were the only screens on display in the store damaged. To this day after about 10 years of keeping an unofficial scoreI have yet to see a damaged screen on a computer not made by Apple. Not only that–Ive heard numerous complaints regarding the Apple screen. Its the only screen Compusa wont cover. Its the only screen for which insurance isnt available. I wont buy an Apple lap top because of the screen. And why is jobs on that DELL??? I think he is fascinated with Intel inside. But maybe he is mesmerized upon seeing a sharp screen for the first time. You this reminds me of Microsoft morons who were upset when the Justice Department went after Microsoft–they just didnt care that Gates was and is a bottle neck blocking progress — These morons wanted the Justice Department to leave Gates alone.

  10. “mdn is always against the apple consumer, always takes the side of the corporation apple.”

    That outright wrong. MDN is against misniformation and FUD. I’ve seen enough articles here to know if this really was an Apple conspiracy, they’d call them on it.

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