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Hot off the Press - News & Commentary
by Keith Benicek, Editor

Disposable iPods, is that what Apple's selling? “iPods Dirty Little Secret”
November 25, 2003

Recently buy a shinny new US$400 or $500 iPod, or perhaps you’re asking for one for Christmas? It’s a pretty little thing all white and chrome, compact and able to store thousands of songs to listen to for up to 12 or 14 hours when you first get it. [Note: Apple Corp. admits to knowledge of a bug in the v3 iPods that misreports the status of a “full charge”. 11/20/03].

Well for those of us that have had an iPod since version 1 and those that haven’t had their heads in the sand, have known about a little discussed topic by Apple. That well suppressed item that is now being called “iPod’s Dirty Little Secret” is that the LiON battery in iPod’s was not designed to be replaced. Notice that there are no screws anywhere on your iPod? No cleaver little service access door secured by Torx screws.

On April 29th 2003, I wrote about my concerns with non-user replaceable LiON batteries in earlier iPods (particularly mine), in the story on the new v 3 iPods that Apple had just announced. I was really shocked that with the new iPod design, Apple hadn’t taken the initiative to build-in easy new battery replacement. Now I have to wonder, did Apple do this on purpose? Planned obsolescence, built-in replacement iPod buyers?

What’s more, Apple really doesn’t “want” to offer a battery replacement service either, just based upon the pricing listed to do so on their service page or when you call customer service. US$255 plus shipping to replace your battery, and it’s only available in the United States! Not Europe and not Japan, one of Apple’s hottest markets.

iPod Owners Make a Public Point
Well the word is finally getting around and some people are particularly MAD about it. Just a couple days ago a quickly infamous QuickTime movie hit the Internet produced by the Neistat Brothers. In the Neistat Brothers “iPods Dirty Little Secret” video, someone named Tracy calls Apple’s Customer and talks to Ryan. Tracy’s iPod is 18 months old and the battery is nearly dead and he asks the Apple customer service rep what he can do. Apple’s Ryan tells him in short to toss the old iPod and buy a new one, “$255 plus some mailing fees . . . . but at that price, might as well get a new one.” WOW!

In the rest of the video, the iPod owner takes a homemade stencil which says “iPOD’S UNREPLACEABLE BATTERY ONLY LASTS 18 MONTHS” and sprays paints it over the new catchy iPod street ads around the city. It looks a lot like San Francisco or Oakland California.

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We tried to contact the Neistat Brothers today for further comments and have not heard from the producers at this time.

Apple may have buckled
Apple’s Customer Care web site now lists the following information:

          iPod Repair Service
Visit our iPod Support Page for helpful troubleshooting information. The easy-to-follow suggestions may help resolve your iPod issue without having to request service.
         Apple Certified Repairs
Repairs are processed through AppleCare's direct mail-in repair service
Complimentary In-Warranty Repair Service
Repair service is free if covered by Apple's One-Year Limited Warranty. A shipping and handling fee of $29.95 USD will be charged for all iPod repairs performed after the first six months of the warranty.
        90-Day Service Agreement
Apple will repair your iPod free of charge through AppleCare direct mail-in repair service if within 90 days of the original direct mail-in repair it requires further service due to defects in materials or workmanship.
Check Mail-In Repair Service Status
Quickly check the status of a mail-in repair by clicking here.
        Out-Of-Warranty Pricing
Price includes:

  • Repair: $249.00 USD Replacement: labor, parts, and a 90-day guarantee on materials and workmanship, plus $6.95 USD shipping. $255.95 USD total.
  • Battery Service: $99.00 USD: labor, parts, and a 90-day guarantee on materials and workmanship, plus $6.95 shipping. $105.95 USD total.

iPod and accessory service requests are submitted through the iPod Troubleshooting Page. If AppleCare phone support is used, an additional $49.00 USD telephone troubleshooting fee may apply.

A quick call to Apple Customer Care and we were told that these service prices are still NOT available to Europe or Japan.



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