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September 28, 2005

Apple Fesses Up To Nano Screen Problems



Courtesy of TechWeb News

Apple Computer cried "uncle" Tuesday, and promised it would replace defective iPod nano screens that have cracked. It won't, however, deal with users who claim that the device's case scratches easily.

According to reports in the Wall Street Journal, a "vendor quality problem" caused cracking on a small number of iPod nano screens, said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. The problem affected "less than one-tenth of 1%" of the nanos shipped, Schiller said.

Users had posted messages on Apple's own support forums as well as other sites -- including financial services consultant Matthew Peterson's flawedmusicplayer.com -- detailing horror stories of new nanos' cracked and scarred screens.

After Peterson's site was cited in several media reports Monday, an Apple representative contacted him and said the company would make a "one-time warranty exception" and send him a replacement.

Tuesday, Apple changed its tune.

"It is sad that it took a website and a lot of publicity before they finally investigated but at least future Nano users with the same problem I had will not be subjected to the same treatment that I was," wrote Peterson on his revamped site Wednesday. "This was a real issue and most people tried to ignore it."

Affected users can contact AppleCare, Schiller told the Journal.

The other issue that has some iPod nano users hopping mad -- the ease with which the case scratches -- won't be addressed, Schiller confirmed. The nano's case and screen aren't any more susceptible to scratching than earlier iPods, and Apple has received few complaints, he said.

Users, however, disagreed. They continued to post messages on Apple's iPod nano message forum about extreme scratching. "I bought iPod Nano [sic] a week before. I have treated like baby, but still I got so many scratches, now looks very ugly. I hate this," wrote one poster Wednesday.

Many of the posts were from users sharing tricks on how to keep their iPod nanos scratch free, which ranged from covering the screen with vinyl to wrapping the entire case in kitchen cling wrap.

That last brought hoots from at least one iPod owner. "$250 bucks for a 2005 model MP3 player and you've wrapped it up like a 1970's velour sofa?? You REALLY think that's a 'solution?' How about a recall?"

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