Attorneys: iPod maximum volume update not good enough | iLounge News

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Attorneys: iPod maximum volume update not good enough

Following Apple’s announcement today of an iPod update to limit volume levels, attorneys involved in a class-action lawsuit over iPod hearing loss have released a statement, saying that they “lauded Apple’s decision to provide a way to limit the volume of the popular iPod devices, but said the company’s actions fall far short.”

“It is good to know that Apple finally acknowledges that there is a serious flaw with its iPod product, and is giving U.S. purchasers the same protection it has been giving French purchasers since 2002,” said Steve Berman, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “Unfortunately, this patch doesn’t help the millions of people who own older models—it is a jack-legged workaround that falls well short of what consumers demand and deserve.”

“While the software allows users to set levels, the company does next to nothing to educate consumers about what is safe,” J.R. Whaley, another attorney representing the plaintiffs. “Many consumers would conclude that 100 DB is twice as loud as 50 DB but that’s not the case; for every 10 decibels, the loudness actually increases twofold. Fifty decibels is twice as loud as 40, 60 is four times as loud as 40, and so on.”

“We contend that Apple has done next to nothing to inform consumers regarding these issues,” Berman concluded.

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Comments

21

@ Michael Portuesi…
come ON, it’s your volume control.
i know you JUST defended yourself on this, but if im headbanging to loud music too much, im not suing anyone for not telling me to.
we are old enough to have common sense, and this is ridiculous. they even released the update, and what ELSE do YOU think they should do?

Posted by Noah Gomberg on March 29, 2006 at 6:18 PM (PDT)

22

Michael Portuesi,
Be glad they don’t have the “User IQ” update because your iPod would be turned off all the time.

Posted by NSA247 on March 29, 2006 at 6:36 PM (PDT)

23

@ Noah,

I’m perfectly okay if you want to play music at headbanging levels, and I think it would be bad if Apple built in a limit at the factory.  I also don’t support the lawsuit, because I think people should have a choice.

But choice goes two ways.  I do want this feature, and I think Apple is doing the right thing by offering it and making it optional (you get to set the level, not Apple).  I just think they should offer it for all their iPods back to the original, since their main reason for offering it is to cover their ###.

Anyway, if anyone else wants to flame me, go right ahead.  Or just put your headphones on and turn it to 11.

Posted by Michael Portuesi on March 29, 2006 at 6:36 PM (PDT)

24

yup, iPod definately off all the time.

Posted by NSA247 on March 29, 2006 at 6:42 PM (PDT)

25

All of you people flaming portuesi-

Stop complaining. Apple isn’t forcing you to limit your volumes. It’s optional. As for “YOU being the idiot user,” its easy to let the volume get carried away- especially if you are in a loud enviroment and you have to put your ipod on/close to max to block out everything else to enjoy your jams. All of you people that are ######## about it- just don’t use the VC if you have such a problem with it. Apple is just covereing bases (except for the other G’s, sorry) and presenting optional solutions that THEIR own consumers can take advantage of, if they WANT to.

So just chill out and stop flaming over an added volume control

Posted by wheresbrando on March 29, 2006 at 6:48 PM (PDT)

26

Litigation in the USA is just ridiculous, but it lifts my spirits to see that most Americans on this site do not support this blatant attempt at making money.  If it’s called Volume CONTROL, it’s because you’re in control.  Or else wouldn’t they have named it Volume AUTO-PILOT??  “It’s the most convenient, you don’t need to think about it”.  Oh my god, I am speechless! Wow.  That pretty much sums up the defense, eh?

Posted by Simon Montreal on March 29, 2006 at 6:54 PM (PDT)

27

Why are these lawyers not suing all other DAP manufacturers?

They go where da money is, obviously…

...how about YOU taking the responsibility to listen at a reasonable volume

Tell that to some twelve-year old (or younger) who doesn’t know better.

My car can do 125 mph

And mine can do 167 mph. So what? Your analogy doesn’t wash, because to begin with government regulates how fast you are legally allowed to go. Besides, car companies are always reminding their customers (and TV commercial viewers) to drive responsibly and safely, and within the limits of the law (unless of course it’s VW, telling you to “get to know your ‘fast’”...the first time someone crashes their new Mk V GTI while speeding…).

Technically, there are no such safeguards with iPods, just as there weren’t any with Walkmans that came before. Classic example of a common sense loophole that conniving product litigation lawyers can take advantage of, mainly because the vagaries in in whether a company adequately warned the general public.  Moreover, by an ironic twist it can be said that their case against the iPod is actually strengthened by Apple’s release of this maximum volume update, because it could be interpreted as an admission that Apple did something wrong before and is belatedly trying to rectify it now.

Posted by flatline response on March 29, 2006 at 7:18 PM (PDT)

28

wheresbrando

You have to be kidding me. I would not call the responses to portuesi’s post flaming at all. I thought they were all right on point. People like that are absolutely “the problem”. If you are unable to control the volume on your iPod that is absolutely your own fault. I didn’t hear anyone actually complaining about the new volume control feature but rather that Apple had to go to such lengths to cover their ##### from more typical frivolous lawsuits.

Posted by eyeguy on March 29, 2006 at 7:38 PM (PDT)

29

I dont get it why do people blame iPods for their stupidness! iPods has volume adjustments so its their choice if they are going to set it to too loud…i think this people just want a piece from Apple.

Posted by Danica on March 29, 2006 at 7:40 PM (PDT)

30

Wow this is crazy! It’s only a music player people! The option to put a limit on your volume is helpful to some people. I can’t believe some of you are reacting so irrationally to this. I believe it’s necessary to offer some limits to shut up the people too stupid to take care of their own lame @$$es but at the same time those restrictions shouldn’t be forced. When they are it sets a standard that leads to our freedoms being taken away step after step. I believe that Apple has done the right thing by offering this. Some people find it helpful, some probably think it’s dumb, but those who think it’s dumb don’t have to use it. People need freedoms. People aren’t always responsible. People like to blame others for their stupidity. Here is a case where a company has gone out of it’s way to help and support all those points without making anyone angry. I respect that. I think some of you should too.

Normally I’d say “Bite Me” but this time I’ll leave it at - PEACE.

Posted by Werewolf on March 29, 2006 at 8:48 PM (PDT)

31

What world are we in? This is Crazy World. I just know it.

Posted by Jason on March 29, 2006 at 9:04 PM (PDT)

32

You’re missing the point. What most reasonable users are angry over is the lawsuit itself. The fact that they are going after Apple and no one else is an indication that they don’t really care about anyone’s safety, but are just trying to wrench some money away from Apple. The fact is Apple provides more than enough information to users on how to listen responsibly and avoid hearing damage. Just because it’s easy to get “carried away” with the volume does not make it Apple’s fault.

Posted by Joshdude in Long Beach, CA on March 29, 2006 at 9:05 PM (PDT)

33

It’s incidents like this that make me hate humanity and what it’s becoming.  McDonald’s and the coffee, the burglars suing homeowners for injuring themselves when breaking in, and now this.  Now we all know this one hardly has a chance, but let’s not forget the first 2 were as ridiculous, yet the plaintiffs won.  I’m sure there are now people out there that upon hearing this, won’t want to buy an iPod for themselves or their kids…

Posted by Sean on March 29, 2006 at 9:18 PM (PDT)

34

So what happens when I use high impendence headphones? The ipod won’t be able to drive them because of an idiot blasted his ears out. I know I don’t have to install the update and I won’t. I won’t buy an ipod if the volume is limited. Its not fair for me. I should be able to choose what ever volume the ipod can put out…

Posted by Macromedia on March 29, 2006 at 10:18 PM (PDT)

35

The corporate world and sue-happy America make me sad… And yes, other countries see America as sue-happy.

Posted by slappe in Wisconsin, USA on March 29, 2006 at 10:23 PM (PDT)

36

@flatline response

Your [car] analogy doesn’t wash, because to begin with government regulates how fast you are legally allowed to go.

Personally, I think the car analogy holds up quite well. I think it’s your logic that doesn’t quite “wash.” A federally mandated speed limit doesn’t equate to a volume limiter on an iPod. Now, if car companies were to install governors on all cars by which the users could set the maximum speed at which their vehicles could travel, then they’d be in the same ball park. Furthermore, it is the individual driver who is held responsible for exceeding the speed limit, not the manufacturer of the car being driven. If someone gets into an accident while driving too fast, they get a fine and/or jail time. In line with your reasoning then perhaps what we need is a federal mandate for volume limits on MP3 players. Might as well include home stereos, car stereos, and live concerts for that matter (and yes, I realize laws do exist that govern noise pollution and disturbing the peace but those are not aimed at protecting the hearing of the individual using their equipment). Then, if you exceed the stated limit and get caught or go deaf as a result, you will be fined and/or serve jail time.

Besides, car companies are always reminding their customers (and TV commercial viewers) to drive responsibly and safely, and within the limits of the law

So all Apple really needs to do then is caution people to “listen to your music at a reasonable volume. Jam out - responsibly and safely.”

Tell that to some twelve-year old (or younger) who doesn’t know better.

To an extent, I agree with you on this one. Yes, I too was once a stupid twelve-year-old and as such did a lot of stupid things because I “didn’t know better” (and, sadly - I still do stupid things to this day). But I don’t think that automatically makes it Apple’s fault. The point being, it’s not that this update is a bad idea (I think it’s great, myself) but Apple shouldn’t be held accountable for someone misusing their technology whether they know better or not. It’s not Apple’s responsibility to make sure people use their equipment properly and responsibly. If a twelve-year-old (or younger) jams a Swiss Army knife into their leg, should we go after the Swiss Army people because the kid didn’t know any better that the knife was sharp and would hurt them if jammed into their leg? Maybe rather than sue them we should go after the parents for not educating their children as to what is and is not reasonable use of a Swiss Army knife,Apple iPod. For that, I commend Apple on including this update as it will help parents do just that, but I do not think they had any obligation to do so. As for competent adults who claim they “didn’t know any better” - give me a break. Now - if an item malfunctions as a result of poor craftsmanship and somone is harmed as a result - that’s a different story.

Conclusion: I think this is a good addition to the Apple software. It will help parents better protect their kids from damaging their hearing and educate them as to what is an appropriate volume level. However, I don’t think Apple should be punished for people being ignorant with or misusing their technology.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Posted by treydawg on March 29, 2006 at 10:50 PM (PDT)

37

i guess nobody told them about amps

Posted by feh1325 on March 29, 2006 at 10:56 PM (PDT)

38

#14 - “That’s funny, I had my iPod playing Dokken’s “Into the Fire? around 2AM and it was near topped out.  I was shocked to see I had hit the limit and this is BEFORE the patch.”

Dokken is unsafe at any volume.

Posted by Chris Renton on March 30, 2006 at 12:27 AM (PDT)

39

There is a problem with the volume limit function. On my iPod 5G, using the new radio remote, with the volume limit on, at low enough levels, my right earphone cuts out. However, without the limit on, at the same low volume, the right earpiece works perfectly. Help, maybe?

Posted by hotheadedjonny on March 30, 2006 at 1:39 AM (PDT)

40

This is a joke how can you sue someone because ‘YOU’ play ‘YOUR’ music to loud, its completely your fault this people should be banned from buying ipods or any other music player, they should be lined up and shot

Posted by p on March 30, 2006 at 3:05 AM (PDT)

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