The iPod Nano: One thousand songs. Impossibly fragile?
Thats the complaint of many new owners of Apple Computer Inc.s new iPod Nano, if you believe the 450-plus posts to the companys Web site complaining about the ease with which the devices display can be scratched.
As of Monday, a litany of negative feedback regarding the screen scratching issue had been aired on Apple.com, with no apparent reply from the hardware maker. Apple representatives didnt immediately return calls seeking comment on the issue.
According to a majority of the posts to the site, the music players 1.5-inch color screen is unacceptably prone toward marring, with many buyers saying that they had gone to lengths to protect the music players, only to find that their Nanos still got nicked.
Some individuals commenting on the issue said the problem appeared almost from the moment they first removed their iPods from the manufacturers packaging and peeled off the film-like plastic that covers the screen during shipping.
"Ive had my Nano for a little over two weeks and it scratched right when I took off the little plastic on the front," wrote a poster identified as Young Lim. "At first I thought this was just a smudge so I used my cotton t-shirt to try to rub it off, but that start(ed) to scratch it even more."
Lim went on to say that after carrying the Nano in the pocket of some cargo shorts, the device showed even more blemishes, leaving the buyer feeling "disappointed and betrayed" by Apple, especially since the poster had observed impressive durability from earlier, and cheaper, iPods. One Nano owner has already gone to the trouble of creating a Web site to detail his issues with the screen scratching issue.
The criticism of the Nano, which comes in two models that retail for $199 and $249 respectively, stands in sharp contrast to the rave reviews the device has garnered for its sleek, diminutive design and powerful audio capabilities. While the devices had not created the same tidal wave of interest as its predecessor, the iPod Mini, which was sold out for nearly six months after its launch, industry watchers had predicted that Apples stores, and online dealers such as Amazon.com, were already moving large numbers of the music players.
Negative comments regarding the scratching issue have already surfaced on Amazons review pages as well.
While Apples bottom line has benefited from strong sales of the iPod and other new products, the company has faced some complaints over the years regarding the build quality of some of its machines. Perhaps the most notable set of issues reported about the firms products revolved around the chassis of its high-end Power Mac G4 Cube computer, which some buyers found to have hairline cracks stretching across its clear, polycarbonate exterior.
The only major complaint that Apple has received about the iPod, pre-Nano, has been in regards to the battery life of some of its earliest examples of the devices. In June, the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm settled several class action suits related to that issue, offering an extended service warranty and $50 store credits to people who had experienced the problem, which effected iPods manufactured between 2001 and May, 2004. Specifically, some buyers had complained that the batteries, which promised to provide 10 hours of playing time at full charge, would only last roughly 4 hours.
Another issue that left some Nano owners disappointed was that the scratching problem was making it hard to see the images, such as music album art, that they had already loaded onto the machines. This was supposed to be another plus to the Nano as another form of personalization offered by the more powerful handheld.
"Im going to have to add my name to the list of people who are (upset) that their $300 Nano is scratched within days of purchase," wrote a poster identified as Dave Whips. "(It) makes it tough (at least annoying) to look at artwork and photos that Ive added."