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.

Advertisement: Apple iPod nano. 1,000 songs. Impossibly small. From $199. Free shipping.
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 website alleging iPod nano ‘screen flaws’ hosted on Apple’s .Mac – September 26, 2005 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


  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.

  4. apple had an issue with the cracks and solved it. late but ok.

    but apple is considered superior in design and style. so it is a shame that they sometimes use cheap materials like for the iBook or white iPod. my iBook looks like scratched with sandpaper, though i baby it all the time. my iPod mini on the other hand is free of any scratches, though i carry it in pockets and the like. very good material for the mini: brushed alluminium, bad for the iBook and iPod nano. we expect aple to do it better.

    and i smell paranoia here. mdn, just because people are upset about the scratches doesn’t mean someone wants to hurt apple or does make this story bigger than it is. when you buy a device for 250 and two days later it looks like crap, i think this is a big story.

  5. Mathew, did you ever consider the idea that Apple was investigating and trying to understand what the true cause of the problem was BEFORE they made a public statement? Yes, there were reports of screen issues, but what is the cause and what is the fix? Determining that takes time. It take takes time do determine if it is truly a design issue, or a bad lot of components from a vendor (which is what it turned out to be), and if it is a bad lot of parts how many are affected by it. Yes, we all wish responses to our problems are addressed immediately, but there is also the responsibility of Apple to disseminate accurate information as to the cause and the scope of its impact, and a plan on how to deal with it.

    I’m sure they are using multiple vendors for the major parts, if not all, of the assembly, and it is normal (while not pleasant) for some of those vendors to have bad parts that make it into the end product. When you are building millions of units, it is not feasable to test 100% of the product going out the door. Step back and look at what they are building- it’s amazing they fit it all in there in the first place. Apple is pushing the envelope, like usual, and sometimes that comes with a few lumps along the way. Consider this screen issue one of those lumps.

  6. I agree that I shouldn’t have expected an instant response. However, after my website started they offered me a replacement. I asked about everyone else who had emailed me about the problem. They said, we work on a case by case basis so we don’t have a comment about other people. A more appropriate response would have been, we work on a case by case basis and would consider looking at the other nano’s. If they had simply done that I would have stopped my site and instructed everyone to call Apple and then waited for the response. I never contacted the media, they came to me and honestly I never expected the media to pick it up like they did. If I had, trust me, my site would have been something people liked looking at and not just some huge clunky website that was difficult to look at. I understand Apple may have needed time but their response should have been ok we are willing to look into it. What would have happened if I had shut down my site when they offered me a replacement but not others? No one will ever know for sure, and I’m not going to speculate, but I have a feeling things would have turned out differntly.

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