“In recent years, anti-iPodders have been running something of a smear campaign against Apple, with a gamut of complaints that the unit’s batteries either don’t last as long as promised or cannot be replaced. A recent class-action suit settlement has proven either that the disgruntled are right or that Apple is tired of fighting them and the resultant bad press,” Lance Ulanoff writes for PC Magazine.
“More recently, Apple enjoyed, as it often does with any new hardware release, extremely laudatory press and reviews for the new Apple iPod nano—and it was all well deserved. This is the thinnest, most beautiful digital music player I have ever seen. I saw it within 24 hours of its official launch and was dazzled. I remember remarking to Mike Kobrin, our lab analyst for digital music players, that the nano was a fingerprint magnet, but I also figured that a soft cloth or my shirt would make short work of the smudges,” Ulanoff writes.
“Now, just a few weeks later, we’re hearing about scratched screens. This could be a big problem, since one of the nano’s key selling points, and something I appreciated as well, is the small yet brilliant color screen, which shows off album covers and your personal photos in surprising detail. Scratches here are not only unwelcome, they could be hard to ignore,” Ulanoff writes. “…the nano’s screen must be as scratch-prone as that of any other portable media player made with the same material. In published reports, Apple has, in fact, stated that the nano has the same screen material as the iPod mini. So where are all the angry mini users?”
Ulanoff writes, “I decided that it boils down to this: nanos are fine. People are careless. Rub plastic or even glass against a rough enough surface and it will get scuffed. Who knows, maybe this is on purpose. Without scratch-prone iPods, there’d be no market for iPod cases. This is all obvious to anyone with half a brain.. The conspiracy theorist side of me sees the disproportionate response as a symptom of something other than reality—like it’s being generated. Why would a complaint about nano by such a relatively small group of consumers (Apple’s already sold more than it can make) be deemed worthy of news reports? I could see a jealous competitor planting the story and feeding reporters or, more likely, blogs, details on how to scratch nanos and how impossible it is to remove the scratches.”
Full article here.
Ulanoff explains that he understands the difference between the small batch of iPod nanos that are susceptible to screen cracking and that Apple will replace those units for free. Ulanoff is referring to the so-called screen scratching issue, the same as our own SteveJack discussed recently on our opinion pages.
From SteveJack’s most-recent opinion article, “iPod nano ‘screen issues’ really just FUD?” dated September 26, 2005:
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.
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.
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?
Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple iPods have always been far too scratchable, protective cases required to keep iPods pristine – September 30, 2005
invisibleSHIELD offers rugged, clear protection for Apple iPod nano and other iPod models – September 30, 2005
The Motley Fool: Apple did the right thing in quickly addressing cracked iPod nano screens – September 28, 2005
iPod nano ‘screen issues’ really just FUD? – September 26, 2005
Apple responds to iPod nano screen issues – September 27, 2005