Following a volley of bad press, Apple have done "the right thing" and admitted that there is a genuine problem with the screen on their recently launched iPod nano. Apple will replace broken units free of charge.
"It is a real, but minor issue involving vendor quality problems," an Apple spokesman said of the nano screen issue. "Any user with a defective screen should contact Apple ... and we will replace it for free," the spokesman said. "It's not a design issue." A feature not a bug, eh, Mr Spokesman?
Apple maintain that the problem has so far occurred in just 0.1% of iPod nanos sold.
The iPod division is extremely important to Apple: in its most recent quarter, Apple sold 6.2 million iPods and that accounted for about one third - $US1.1 billion - of the company's overall revenue in the period. The iPod family hold nearly 75% of the market for portable digital music players.
iPod's cash-cow status was no doubt a primary cause for the damage limitation action when reports hit the net of the defective screens, as eptiomised by FlawedMusicPlayer.com
. The site was created by a disgruntled Matthew Peterson, who's own nano developed a cracked screen after just four days of ownership when he sat down with it in his pocket.
The huge publicity that his site attrached brought the flaw to the surface: Peterson was receiving more than 30 emails an hour about the issue, with some customers experiencing the Pearly White Screen of Death within mere hours of purchase.
Peterson wrote that he was "delighted to see Apple take this issue seriously. It is sad that it took a Web site 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. This was a real issue, and most people tried to ignore it. I know a lot of people are going to complain that they still have to spend extra money on a case to prevent scratching. Especially with the nano, its main selling point is that it is small, and adding a case to it will make it much larger, but at least we have the completely unusable iPod Nano issue fixed."
Unless, of course, your name is Ars Technica, who famously destroyed
a brand new nano within hours of the product's launch, subjecting it to various "stress tests" which included jumping on it, dropping it, and ultimately driving over it with their car. No warranty replacement for those guys, but some would argue it was money well spent just the same.
Have you had problems with your iPod nano? If so, we want to hear from you
. Alternatively, if you've been one of the lucky ones, share your secret for a scratch-free nano with the rest of us.