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Hot off the Press - News & Commentary

Apple Introduces New iPods, but the same old design flaw is still there.
April 29, 2003 – by Keith Benicek, Editor

Well the rumors have been in the wind for a couple months now and fiction now finally mean fact. Apple® today introduced its third generation iPods, which hold up to 7,500 songs in a newly revamped enclosure that is lighter and thinner than two CDs.

The new ultra-portable iPods feature completely solid-state “no moving parts” navigation wheel and buttons; an neat new dock with audio out for fast and easy connection to your computer or stereo; an “On-The-Go” playlist so users can build a playlist right on their iPod™; a customizable main menu so users can promote the features they use most often to their top level menu; and Apple’s unique, patent pending Auto-Sync for automatically syncing your computer’s music library with iPod. The new ultra-portable iPods are available in three models: a 10GB model for just $299 (US), a 15GB model for $399 (US) and a 30GB model for $499 (US).

“The competition hasn’t even caught up with our first generation iPod, and we’re introducing our third generation,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With the new iTunes Music Store, you can now buy music online and transfer it right onto your iPod for listening wherever you want.”

The new 15GB and 30GB models come with an elegant dock for effortless connecting to a Mac® or Windows PC. The dock provides a stylish home base for the iPod and includes an audio line out for easy connection to home stereo or powered speakers, making it easy to sync, charge and go. iPod plays more than eight hours of continuous music and recharges automatically whenever iPod is in the dock or connected to a Mac or Windows PC.

At first when you look at the new “Version 3” iPods, you notice that the scroll wheel looks more “integrated into the front body of the iPod and that there are four selector buttons on the front, instead of the scroll wheel collar buttons.

When I picked up the new iPod at the Cupertino unveiling, I suddenly realized that the scroll wheel really isn’t. It’s a “faked wheel that is touch sensitive to the motion of your finger tip! Consequently, the new buttons (also touch

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sensitive) are necessary because nothing moves on the new iPod. The corners of the new front panel design are also rounded, instead of the sharp polycarbonate face that v1 and v2 iPods had.

Still a big Fly in the Ointment
What totally befuddles me, is that with this considerable packaging change to the iPod, why hasn’t Apple fixed the biggest flaw in the iPods design? The LiON Battery is NOT replaceable, or very easily accomplished at the least. What is an owner to do when the battery dies?

My first 5GB iPod, a version 1, was nearly a year old and the battery was already only holding a 4-hour charge of it’s original timed 11-hours. Fortunately for me, it was stolen from my hotel room and the hotels insurance bought me a new one (a version 2 iPod of 5GB). I had called Apple about it and was quoted $255 to replace the battery (probably a swap with another “refurbished” one in actuality).

If you were an iPod owner in the same plight, I’d guess you’d be rather unhappy to hear this news from Apple Customer Care too. You might consider this before investing in a new iPod. I’ve mentioned this on the LA radio show I often appear on.

This is a major flaw in the iPod design and it will be catastrophic damage to Apple’s iPod marketing when more and more iPod owners are faced with this horrible expensive resolution to a simple dead battery in an already over-priced toy. I hope you’re listening, Apple

Pricing & Availability
The new iPod for Mac and Windows PCs will be available on May 2, for a suggested retail price of $299 (US) for the 10GB iPod, $399 (US) for the 15GB iPod, and $499 (US) for the 30GB iPod through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com)



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