Much-ballyhooed iPod nano screen concerns ‘a real but minor issue’

Regarding the much-ballyhooed iPod nano screen “issues,” Rob Pegoraro reports for The Washington Post, “Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said Tuesday afternoon that cracked or otherwise destroyed screens were ‘a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in… less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the total iPod Nano units we’ve shipped.’ Neumayr said it was ‘not a design issue,’ and that anybody who experienced the problem should contact Apple for a free replacement. As for surface scratching, Neumayr said the Nano is made from the same plastic as the full-size iPod and that a variety of cases were available to prevent that sort of cosmetic damage.”

“Other companies have shipped products with comparable problems before, but their issues don’t draw nearly as much attention. Apple, however, regularly gets held to a higher standard — perhaps because it keeps advertising itself as the think-different company, the one that fusses over the details to ensure that it won’t crank out the same junk as everybody else,” Pegoraro writes.

Pegoraro writes, “With the iPod, [Apple have] broken through, even though it came to the music-player market years after its competitors and with products that initially cost more and offered fewer features than other players… There’s a habit in the tech business of thinking that a product like that must ride on nothing more than good marketing. Someday, the thinking goes, the device’s flaws will surface, showing it to be the cheap fraud it was all along. And then won’t all those bandwagon-hopping customers be sorry? Apple’s detractors may be hoping that [recent reports about iPod nano screen “issues”] provided that moment — just as some earlier seized on the fact that you must pay Apple to get an iPod’s battery replaced (which two iPod users called the ‘iPod’s Dirty Little Secret’ on a Web site of the same title). But reality is often less melodramatic: iPods sell better because they are easier to use and look cooler than their competitors, and [when] the ‘dirty secret’ turns out to be a fixable problem or a basic misunderstanding, [it turns out that] customers have been making rational choices all along.”

Full article here.

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We are happy that iPod nano owners that make up less than one-tenth of one percent of the total iPod Nano units with cracked screens will receive free replacements from Apple. We expect nothing less from Apple. That said, this story is so overblown that it passed the ridiculous stage days ago. Does it seem to you that, since iPod nano’s release, when it became obvious to most that Apple’s iPod could not be stopped, any minor issue would be exploited regardless of actual facts? Or do you think that we’re underplaying the “issue” in order to try to “protect” Apple? Rest assured, if we thought that this was a real issue that affected significant numbers of users or was something we considered a “design flaw” instead of a vendor quality control issue in a small batch of units, we’d call Apple on it. This case simply doesn’t seem to warrant the attention it is currently receiving and we’re obliged to explain that we believe this issue is tremendously overblown.

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.

Related articles:
Apple shares fall on iPod nano screen issues – September 28, 2005
Apple replaces iPod nano cracked screens; handful of units affected, WSJ: ‘barrage of complaints’ – 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
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The New York Times’ Pogue states iPod’s Law: the impossible is possible – September 14, 2005
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Apple’s music competition having tough time and the iPod nano won’t help them – September 14, 2005
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17 Comments

  1. Following on from a post on an earlier thread about irresponsible reporting, Channel 4 News here in the UK is going to run over an iPod nano with a car for its 7pm main news bulletin.

    I will update you all with the results: but I’m relatively certain that anyone who declines to buy a iPod nano because it ceases to work after being run over by a car is probably too stupid to own one, and probably too stupid to be allowed to live, procreate or vote.

  2. You know this makes me wonder a bit about what kind of battery replacement services will be offered for the nano. Every battery has to give out sometime and the iPod nanos’ could last a very long time since they are almost entirely solid state. From the pics of the guts of the nano you could see that the battery is soldered on rather than a connector so battery replacement will be much more problematic.

    Oh well, with the amount of nanos that are going to be out there and the ipod ecology that has developed, I am sure someone will step up with a solution when the time comes, and anyway that could be years and years from now.

  3. “MacDailyNews and iPodDailyNews are Apple Store and Apple iTunes Music Store affiliates”

    I think you say it yourself, you are biased. Apple admits this was a real issue and I don’t think it was overblown at all. Apple needed to address the issue and fix it, which they did and I commend them for it. However it took a lot of work for Apple to even want to look into the issue. I don’t think it is irresponsible to hold a company to its own standards that they advertise. However small the issue, the issue was real. We obviously can’t go back in time and see how Apple might have responded if I had never started my site, and after the publicity it received. If history tells us anything it would have taken months for Apple to address the issue, which would have been in the middle of the Christmas shopping season. If anything, I helped Apple by addressing the issue early, and Apple saved itself by relieving customer anxiety over the problem. I don’t see how anyone can misconstrue that as irresponsible. It was never my goal to “bring down Apple or the iPod” as I have so often been accused of these past few days. All I wanted was an iPod that worked, and that is what I got. I gave Apple 2 opportunities to address this issue before I started my site and they ignored it. They chose their response and I chose mine. Who’s response was more appropriate? Ignoring it, or pushing it in their face so they couldn’t ignore it. I don’t see anything wrong with getting a company to admit they did something incorrectly and get them to fix it. When people spend $250 on a product they expect quaility. Not everyone got that, and Apple refused to cover their own quality issue. One only needs to look at Apple’s history of problems to see this is not the first time they have tried to ignore consumers. I wasn’t trying to bash Apple, but there is a time for corporate responsiblity.

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