iPod Battery FAQ | iLounge News

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iPod Battery FAQ

With all the incorrect and misleading information and news articles, rumors of class action lawsuits, and other ridiculousness surrounding the iPod battery, I’ve decided to start an iPod Battery FAQ.

It contains concise, correct, up-to-date information dealing with questions people may have about iPod batteries. Comments, suggestions, corrections, and updates welcome at [email protected].

Editor’s note: Also take a look at ‘The truth about the iPod battery and charging’ in the forums.

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Comments

21

I literally never use my backlight. I have seen many iPod owners with their backlight set to be on every time they touch a button - and it stays on for a while. That seems like it would be a real drain on the battery.

This is such a non-issue. A few whiners and trolls have turned this into quite a bit of wasted space on this and other forums. I’ll be glad when everyone comes to their senses and moves on.

Posted by Atomic Bomb in Mid-Atlantic on December 29, 2003 at 10:31 AM (CST)

22

Well, I for one welcome the FAQ and I think DS needs to be both thanked and congratulated for making the effort. However, with all due respect Dave, I think theres a couple of points worth mentioning:

Re: “With all the incorrect and misleading information…” and “some of the myths and lies about the iPod’s battery…”  - well, I don’t think too many iPod owners have been spreading “myths” or “lies” - there are genuine concerns about this battery, and that fact is only reinforced by both Apple’s attempts to do something (albeit at a cost to the consumer) and formus/FAQs such as this existing in the first place.

The 3G battery is woefully inadequate - I am slightly less concerned by how long it lasts overall than how long I can actually play the iPod before I have to visit a power point - 5 or maybe 6 hours is the maximum I have ever achieved. 8 hours is pure fantasy, and more crucially, a “myth” and a “lie” as far as I’m concerned. The 8 hour claim is based on a totally unrealistic usage pattern for a device such as the iPod.

Just look at the power available between 2G and 3G (from DS FAQs) - 2G has 1230mAh whilst 3G has 850mAh - less than 70% of the 2G model. No wonder everybody claims the 2Gs last longer between charges. Why the big drop between 2nd and 3rd gen ? Persuambly to shave a few mm off of body size ?

Dura has made an excellent point - if you listen 4-5 hours a day, thats a charge every single day, and according to the 300-500 charge/discharge cycles rule, that means a battery life of less than 2 years. No lie there, then.

And, the “dirty secret” movie - assuming that phone call wasn’t faked, and the voice at the Apple end was an Apple rep, then I have a big problem w/ that too - the guy didn’t say “... hang on to your iPod for a while longher coz we have a replacement plan coming” he basically said “sorry dude, go buy another one”. More power to those guys for bringing it out in the open.

As for Mr A. Bomb - he clearly has more money than sense. If he doesn’t like the “whiners and trolls” he finds around here then he is the one who should move on.

Posted by binky on December 29, 2003 at 11:45 AM (CST)

23

Blinky,

I wasn’t saying that iPod owners were spreading myths and lies; I’m saying that the news articles covering the Neistat’s video are. Examples:

Myth: the iPod battery lasts 18 months - that statement, as it stands, is not true. It *could* last 18 months; it could also last (and likely will, for most people) several years. But to say, wholesale, that the battery lasts 18 months and then it’s throwaway time is disingenuous at best.

Lie: Apple released the battery replacement service because of the bad publicity from the Neistat video - completely untrue; the battery program was rolled out a week before ipodsdirtysecret.com was even live (and the program had been in planning since mid-summer anyway). This is important because the implication is that Apple will only act if customers “force” it to with mountains of bad press, which is completely and totally untrue. There is a reason why Apple is ranked #1 in support among all computer companies by Consumer Reports, and has been for years. Does Apple have faults? Sure. But, by all measures, a hell of a lot less than other manufacturers.

Myth: the iPod is somehow unique with this problem - of course, this is also untrue. I especially get a kick out of people who say “Wow, I didn’t know the iPod only lasts 18 months! Guess I’ll get a Dell DJ after all!” A lot of good that will do, since the Dell DJ ALSO has a non-user-replaceable integrated li-ion battery, just like the iPod! And Dell doesn’t even have a program to replace them (yet).

As for general battery time that you get out of each charge, well, that’s a different story. I’m not even trying to address those, and I have no problem believing that a 2G iPod’s charge lasts longer than a 3G. But that’s not really the point of the FAQ, and isn’t some kind of deficiency with the iPod. If you’re talking about the differential between specs and experience, well, I haven’t seen one accurate battery estimate from any manufacturer on any product, unless you’re talking absolute pristine conditions for the testing. All manufacturers do that, so Apple’s just as bad as everyone else in that respect.

Posted by Dave Schroeder on December 29, 2003 at 2:59 PM (CST)

24

(cont’d)

And I’m sure the phone call wasn’t faked: you could have called in one DAY before the program was to be rolled out, and you’d have been told the same thing. Apple doesn’t comment on unannounced products, right or wrong, and Apple generally doesn’t encourage people to use what it considers to be 3rd party “hacks”, right or wrong. So yes, there was a huge hole in the service offerings BEFORE the battery program was rolled out. Now there isn’t, simple as that. Should they have had it before? Sure. Did the Neistat brothers or the video have anything to do with the program coming out? Nope, not in the slightest. But what really bewilders me is that the problem is now SOLVED, and it’s still getting press because of the Neistat brothers. If Apple DIDN’T have a replacement program, we’d have something to talk about. The Neistats desperately wanted to get picked up by the mainstream press, plain and simple. And they succeeded with just that, with the Washington Post, Seattle Times, and NY Post picking up this non-story.

That’s why the FAQ exists.

Posted by Dave Schroeder on December 29, 2003 at 3:01 PM (CST)

25

Dave,

OK, I understand about the feelings on the Neistat video - yep, they were probably looking for publicity, and yep, they got it - for a while at least. I accept that whole saga (Neistat video) DOES have real elements of opprtunism around it. But…. my own disappointment with the 3G battery (on an otherwise superb product) is such that I have to grin slightly when I hear about their exploits.

Re: Myth: the iPod battery lasts 18 months - you’re right, some may last a shorter time than others, some may well last 2-3 years or more. I sincrely hope mine is in the latter group!

Re: Lie: Apple released the battery replacement service because of the bad publicity from the Neistat video - again, I accept thats probably not true. I don’t know about the timing, but I suspect the brothers filmed it a short while before getting it up on the web, and therefore the timing is more down to coincidence.


Re: Myth: the iPod is somehow unique with this problem - OK, again, I accept this is true - I know the (earlier) Zen batteries aren’t replaceable, and the same goes for the DJ. But, as far as I remember, nothing else has such a short time between charges as the iPod (as far as I know…).

And here I think lies the real problem. Forget the Neistat video for a moment, forget the replacement plan…. I’m positive I read somewhere that the Dell DJ was tested by an (independent) reviewer under “ideal” conditions and the battery played for 20 hours !! I mean, 20 hours !!

If you’ve got something that needs to be recharged every 5, 6, 7 or 8 hours, and it has a 300-500 charge cycle “lifetime”, then it stands to reason that is going to wear out a lot sooner than something that only needs charging every 20 hours (and I know that 20 is extreme, but you get my point - I know the DJ is “officially” less than that, but still more than the iPod). Therefore, a product like the DJ (for example) is much less likely to *need* a battery replacement program. And if it does reach 20 hours in “real life”, battery problems aren’t even likely to enter people’s minds.

This is (one of the reasons) why I think the time between charges is pretty crucial. The other reasons are, well… 4-5 hours sucks.

Anyways…. no flame(s) intended… I congratulate and thank you on your efforts on the FAQ… I think you’ve done a great job on illuminating a difficult area.

It’s late here in the UK - time for bed !

Posted by binky on December 29, 2003 at 4:05 PM (CST)

26

To respond first to the person who suggested I get the Belkin battery pack, while Belkin is a decent company, but I shouldn’t have to buy that to keep it powered. As far as being “defensive” if that comment was even directed at me, I wasn’t being defensive. I was merely saying they could have made it better. I don’t like it when a company makes a product that I like but makes it so that it requires a power source for portable use that cannot be easily replaced by the user. I think that’s ridiculous. Also, whoever said AA batteries cost too much these days, obviously hasn’t shopped at Costco lately. Finally, at the risk of sounding “defensive” now, I’ll just add that carrying around extra batteries falls under the heading of “being prepared.”
I wish all of you well. My only problem is not that it’s a bad product, it’s quite the opposite. The iPod is great; it’s just sad that it could have been better.

Posted by Ron G. on December 29, 2003 at 4:21 PM (CST)

27

Dave, I do not believe for one second that the size would suddenly jump to the size of the Archos. Look at PDAs. Originally most of them ran on A batteries (can’t remember right now whether it was AA or AAA), now they’re running on rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries. There’s a device out now I think it’s the Dell DJ, which allows you to pop the harddrive right out of it, just eject it like a CD player can eject a CD or a tape player can eject a tape. Apple could have done that with iPod—except, instead of ejecting the harddrive, allow us to eject the battery, and make replacements available in stores.
Sure, they might be pricey, but I just don’t like other people touching my stuff—as you can tell I’m very protective of my iPod. lol. I apologize if it seems like attacking. I just don’t like people I don’t know touching my stuff for any reason—especially when a slightly different design could have made it not even necessary. Also, you talk about a size difference. The original iPods were bigger and weighed a little bit more. All it would be would be a return to that for those who wanted it, and for those who wanted an internal battery, they could get the lighter model. That’s all I’m suggesting.

Posted by Ron G. on December 29, 2003 at 4:31 PM (CST)

28

i tested my 3g 20gb ipod today to see the battery life, i was able to listen to it for 9hrs before it died, all my mp3s are at 128k and the volume was between half and max.

Posted by keebie on December 29, 2003 at 5:00 PM (CST)

29

i hate you, ron g.
charging your ipod is being prepared. and im not going to stock up on a brick of batteries just for the ipod. i hope apple never switches to an external source, ever.

Posted by anonymous on December 29, 2003 at 5:17 PM (CST)

30

Anonymous, why are you getting so defensive? I merely stated a fact. Yes, in the current situation, charging is being prepared; but if it was AA batteries that powered it you’d have a problem with that? What about rechargeable AA batteries? Would you have a problem with that, too?

Posted by Ron G. on December 29, 2003 at 5:37 PM (CST)

31

correct me if im wrong but doesnt the 1 year warranty on the iPod cover the battery if it’s capacity falls below 50% in the year?

Posted by Harrison in Melbourne, Australia on December 29, 2003 at 6:00 PM (CST)

32

yes. not having to use batteries saves me the time of going to the store and buying them for at least a year.i spent 500, and i dont want to spend anymore for batteries if apple will include it.
i personally dont have a problem with the current battery in the ipod at all.

i hate you, ron g.

Posted by anon on December 29, 2003 at 6:21 PM (CST)

33

Why hate me? It’s not like I can actually make Apple change their iPod design?
Seriously, you’re acting like a whining little kid. “Waaaaaahhhhhh, I hate you, Ron G.! Waaaahhhhhh! Batteries are too heavy for me! Waaaaaah!” Get a grip, we’re not on the kindergarten playground anymore. Well ... maybe you still are. Grow up, kid. :p

Posted by Ron G. on December 29, 2003 at 6:54 PM (CST)

34

“I’m positive I read somewhere that the Dell DJ was tested by an (independent) reviewer under ‘ideal’ conditions and the battery played for 20 hours !!”

You didn’t read that because it simply isn’t true. How about testing one for yourself.

I guess should add clueless idiots to that list.

Posted by Atomic Bomb in Mid-Atlantic on December 29, 2003 at 7:38 PM (CST)

35

Ah, Mr. Bomb! we meet again….

this from CNet - “The area in which the DJ truly rocks is battery life: an astounding 19.5 hours—significantly more than the 16 hours that Dell claims.”

Here’s the link, clueless idiot….

http://reviews.cnet.com/Dell_Digital_Jukebox_DJ__15GB_/4505-6490_7-30582921-4.html?tag=review

Posted by binky on December 30, 2003 at 2:30 AM (CST)

36

Well, when it comes to reviews, there’s C|Net, and then there’s reality. Besides, the bit about charging via the USB port “not working” if the battery has less than 25% charge is distressing - but predictable. How about actually trying one for yourself?

Posted by Atomic Bomb in Mid-Atlantic on December 30, 2003 at 6:27 AM (CST)

37

Apple wanted the Ipods to fail and to be replaced after 18 months or so.

“The battery will last for the life your ipod.”

As it’s otherwise a good product it has become very successful and it has become necessary to make the disposability slightly less obvious.

As time goes by the screams from unhappy consumers will grow. The battery life on my 2G Ipod is dropping alarmingly and it is irritating that I can’t easily change it.

I hope that the Apple management will do better with the next generation of Ipods. Hopefully they will decide that they can expand their business more by providing a fantastic, long lasting product that ~everyone~ will want to buy. This would be good for consumers and good for Apple.

This means they need to use a less scratchable surface and better batteries.

The alternative is that Apple Ipods will go the way of the Apple computer. Great in their day but too insular and limited. They will be overtaken by the eager young dogs of the free market.

Posted by Fruity Nutcake on December 30, 2003 at 7:39 AM (CST)

38

Love the iPod I have but I have to agree with those who say that the battery sucks, cuz it does. I have a Sony minidisc that lasts me 30hrs with inbuilt battery and attached AA. My ipod barely reaches 5hrs max which is just not acceptable for something so expensive. Who cares if the size increases a little to accommodate an external battery? It’s a terrible flaw in my opinion…

Posted by ikb on December 30, 2003 at 8:42 AM (CST)

39

Apple wanted the Ipods to fail and to be replaced after 18 months or so.

Wrong. Wrong, at so many levels. Wrong, because only the heaviest of heavy users under less-than-adequate conditions - a vanishingly small percentage of iPod owners overall - might even have their batteries fail that early. Proof alone that Apple didn’t “want” anything of the sort to happen. (Not to mention that Apple, in its entire existence, has NEVER been known, on the whole, to design sub-par products, or “planned” products to fail - so all of a sudden the iPod is different? Please.)

“The battery will last for the life your ipod.”

Actually, it says it was *designed* to last you the life of the iPod. And it should. Because for normal people and normal use - i.e., the vast majority of iPod owners - it will last several years. There’s nothing magical or unique about the lithium ion battery in the iPod

As time goes by the screams from unhappy consumers will grow.

Dude, “screams”? Get a grip.

The battery life on my 2G Ipod is dropping alarmingly and it is irritating that I can’t easily change it.

“Alarmingly”? “Screams”? Way to get melodramatic. And uh, did you even *watch* the TechTV battery replacement demonstration linked from the FAQ? The guy casually does it in like 5 minutes, while chatting with the host. If that’s not “easily”, I don’t know what is. (Actually, did you read ANY of the FAQ?)

I hope that the Apple management will do better with the next generation of Ipods. Hopefully they will decide that they can expand their business more by providing a fantastic, long lasting product that ~everyone~ will want to buy. This would be good for consumers and good for Apple.

Don’t know if you noticed from this last holiday season, but iPods sold out everywhere. Demand outstripped supply, which, for all practical purposes, means this whole issue is moot.

The alternative is that Apple Ipods will go the way of the Apple computer. Great in their day but too insular and limited. They will be overtaken by the eager young dogs of the free market.

LOL, this is rich. “Eager young dogs”? Uh, no, my friend, more like Microsoft with unfair business tactics and massive mountains of cash. It won’t be any “eager young dogs”.

Posted by Dave Schroeder on December 30, 2003 at 8:58 AM (CST)

40

Dave,

That “Fruity” post is a typical anonymous post by someone dredging up FUD. It’s actually kind of funny in a pathetic sort of way.

Posted by Atomic Bomb in Mid-Atlantic on December 30, 2003 at 9:04 AM (CST)

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