Hot off the Press - News

Now it’s iPod Mini Problems Plaguing Apple
Tuesday April 13, 2004 by Keith Benicek, Editor

It was disclosed today that Apple is finally investigating numerous user complaints that it’s popular iPod Mini has some serious problems of sound distortions and static or noise when playing back uploaded music.

As you might remember, iBook owners rose inunison at Macworld SF to complain of persistent manufacturing and design flaws that lasted for more than a year in multiple versions. Apple finally admitted to that problem, too.

Users have reported consistent noise is generated when areas around the headphone jack is touched or adjusted. These serious complaints of what appears to be a manufacturing or design flaw has shown up on numerous bulletin board sites, like iPodlounge.

The complaints focus on the distortion that comes and goes, but any pressure as small as thumb pressure anywhere on iPod mini will make sounds to come back. One user disassembled an iPod Mini with the problem and found that “ . . small little part that contains headphone and remote jack and metallic part in the shape of the white plastic top" was the culprit; he continued “This small part attaches to main iPod board ONLY via small black connector that sits on the main board. WHAT AN OVERSIGHT on Apple’s ENGINEER"S PART!!!” Apparently the connector is attached to the iPod Mini case, but NOT the main board.

A sample of the many, many complaints were typical of these listed below -

“It started with the I-trip in the car yesterday, couldn't get a clear channel, songs were freezing and the sound was just awful... now this morning, getting ready to go for a run, I put on my headphones and the nightmare goes on: the




sound is crackling as if put on a bad radio station.... tried several songs same results. “I can even hear a vague crackling noise as I turn the music on... the sound is horribly distorted when I play.“

Another users reported: “I never had an iPod before the Mini and when I first tried it I thought the sound was distorted and had crackling.”
Still another two users posted this: “Frankly, I'm disgusted. I mean this "thing" (which I called the greatest revolution in my musical life a few days ago) has just died with that audio situation and hasn't gotten better.”

And the second user wrote, “I went to the Apple store and they replace my mini. i hope this one last longer, the first one only lasted 35 days!!! Not a good record. I told the Apple guy that he may expect more complains about this defect.”

On the site there were to posting threads, one titled “help, the sound is crackling, heavy audio distortion here!!!”, it had 73 users complaining. A second posting tread titled “Post Here if You own a Problem-Free mini” only had 16 postings. That’s a pretty bad ratio for troubled iPod Mini owner to happy ones.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Sequeira said Tuesday, "Apple is aware of a few isolated reports online of iPod mini audio static and is looking into it." She urged users with any problems to contact the company's technical support.

When the iPod Mini was announced at MWSF in January to much fan-fare, it quickly became delayed for release an extra month and then recently Apple told the media that the world-wide release would be further delayed until July; three months later than promised.

Did Apple know about this problem all along, but rushed to release it to retail sales to bolster company income just ahead of the annual meeting this April?? Makes you wonder.

Shares of Apple were down 96 cents, to $27.08, in Tuesday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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