“The problem with the [iPod nano] is really two separate problems: one with breakage, one with scratching,” David Pogue blogs for The New York Times. “Apple announced that one-tenth of one percent of the Nanos incorporate a faulty slab of glass from one of Apple’s suppliers. Apple will replace these Nanos for free.”
“The other issue is the scratching. Apple says that the Nano has exactly the same protective covering as other iPods, so it shouldn’t be any more susceptible to scratching,” Pogue blogs. “That may be, but even the earlier iPods have always been far too scratchable. I’ve always found it slightly ridiculous that 22 million people have bought this absolutely gorgeous music player—and then stuffed it into an ugly carrying case just to avoid scratching it. In any case, there you have it: the Nano’s screen should definitely not break, and it definitely will scratch unless you take care of it. (Carrying it the same pocket as your car keys, for example, does not qualify as taking care of it.)”
Full article here.
Actually, it’s probably close to 30 million iPods sold by now, including all models. The relatively inexpensive iPod shuffle is easy to throw around, toss in a gym bag, slip in your pocket: users should pretty much expect it to get scratched. It’s the utilitarian iPod. We have always recommended iPod cases for all iPods – even the shuffle, if you want it to stay new looking. In the beginning, with the first iPod – designed for Mac users only – we forgave the easily-marked up iPod exterior design as typical Apple – beautiful, but damn those fingerprints! Straight into a case it went, pretty much obscuring Apple’s beautiful, if somewhat impractical design.
(Detour: We also think Apple Mighty Mouse plastics are too smooth, get too slippery in the average human hand, and should be “pebbled” plastic instead. We have to wipe it clean way too often.)
Back to iPod. Now, what is Apple to do? iPod has become an icon; surprising even Apple with its tremendous popularity. They have to keep the general design statement. Apple also has a vested interest in keeping third-party “Made for iPod” accessory makers thriving. Just as Apple pumped and continues to pump ad dollars into Mac-centric magazines for years (since no Mac magazines on store shelves or in publication would mean no Mac mind share in the general public – by the way, we’ll happily accept Apple ad spending, if they’re reading this!), iPod accessories are Big Business™ and are another strong reason to choose iPod over competing products. Thousands of available accessories trump the tens of accessories available for also-ran WMA-centric players every time, so Apple’s design helps sell protective iPod cases.
An aside, we have one iPod 3G 40GB that’s never been out of an all-encompassing leather case. It is mint. We showed it to a friend who never touched an iPod before (yes, there are still many who haven’t). We left it in his hands and went into another room to retrieve an iTrip to show him and upon our return we found he’d TAKEN IT OUT OF THE CASE and was touching it with his bare hands!!! The horror! We cleaned it with care, and with no damage done, returned it to its home in its case immediately. This is how you have to treat an iPod if you want it to remain “like new.”
Bottom line: iPods are designed to be functional art objects and, for those that want to keep outer cases of iPods pristine, a case is a requirement. It’s not a materials quality issue, it’s a design statement. If you don’t care about fingerprints and scratches, don’t put your iPod in a case, but beware that the screen may eventually become so scratched that it’ll get harder to read as time goes on. An iPod out-of-the-box requires a protective case, just a basically any base computer, Mac or otherwise, requires extra RAM.
Would an iPod with a “brushed” metal back and a pebbled hard plastic or other tougher front surface be more durable? Yes, but how would that affect “Made for iPod” protective case makers’ businesses?
invisibleSHIELD offers rugged, clear protection for Apple iPod nano and other iPod models – September 30, 2005
Apple responds to iPod nano screen issues – September 27, 2005
Over 1,000 accessories now available for Apple iPod – September 07, 2005
Apple’s new ‘Made for iPod’ program designed to help iPod accessory makers – January 27, 2005