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iPod’s Dirty Secret Revealed

Author's pic

By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Sunday, November 23, 2003
News Categories: Humor

The Neistat brothers have taken it upon themselves to ‘redecorate’ iPod posters with their public service announcement which reads; iPod’s Unreplaceable Battery Lasts Only 18 Months. A QuickTime video of their efforts has been posted at www.ipodsdirtysecret.com

Editor’s note: Contrary to their belief the iPod battery is replaceable

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Comments

21

Apple will charge you to replace a battery on an older iPod - a modest $90 plus shipping - but they suggest buy a new iPod.  Also Apple will not support the older iPod through software upgrades.  I think Apple is trying to say something here. 

Posted by RB on November 24, 2003 at 4:50 AM (PDT)

22

anyone with any willpower whatsoever can gather up 100 dollars. That comes out to approx. 2 shifts at your crummy college-student job as cleanup guy at the local peep show.

100 dollars isn’t a lot of money. Anyone who complains about not being able to get 100 dollars probably doesn’t have a job.

Besides, it’s a moot point, as I doubt that any of you have actually had problems with your iPod battery. You’re arguing about a concept that has yet to be realized.

Posted by wunderdave on November 24, 2003 at 5:24 AM (PDT)

23

This movie is hilarious.  And so what if they don’t have a real “important” issue to fight.  I think the film is great, and it was pretty ballsy to vandilize these popular posters in broad daylight. 

As far as the debate over $100 to fix the battery, first off, if you have an ipod of ANY generation, you can afford $100 to fix it.  Boo Hoo College Students, beg your mommy and daddys for it this week @ Thanksgiving- or better yet, spend some of your beer money on it. 

The ipod is the Ferrari of MP3 players and you never hear Ferrari owners complaining about the cost of replacing tires, which is something Ferrari owners need to do every year.  Maybe a college student shouldn’t have a Ferrari in the first place, but maybe should have a Jetta. 

The Archos is the Jetta, it works perfect, is cheap, and it does its job.  It is not cool like a Ferrari, thats for sure. 


Batteries die my friends.  And to make the ipod look as cool as it is, Apple made a decision to utilize an exotic battery, and these batteries are expensive.  Apple is not the villain here. 


If $100 is going to break the bank to fix your 18 month old MP3 player, how is it that you can afford to fill your ipod with music? 

Posted by k-rock in USA on November 24, 2003 at 6:16 AM (PDT)

24

I have no problem with the cost of the replacement battery.  It merely offsets the cost of the CDs I used to pay for in the past.

I can’t wait for the video version of the ipod - bring on the free DVDs!

Posted by D-Low on November 24, 2003 at 6:43 AM (PDT)

25

I got the 1st gen as soon as it came out and my battery is fine. There was one problem that was fixed when they updated the software.

Posted by Frank on November 24, 2003 at 6:47 AM (PDT)

26

“The ipod is the Ferrari of MP3 players”

I’ve put a lot of thought into audio players as cars, and here are my findings:

ipod… Miata. Small, curvy, excellently designed, looks good around a woman, underpowered, doesn’t do very much.

Archos… Elantra. Cheap, functional, when it works it’s a deal, but the quality control is poor.

Karma… Mini Cooper. Small, chunky, full of bottle.

Zen… Mustang. A Muscle Car. Big, heavy, fast, does a lot but takes some handling.

iRiver… Lexus. Pricey, neato, nice lines, definitely not for everybody but uncompromised performance.

Samsung Napster… New Beetle. Gimmick car. Looks kind of interesting, but you get sick of it quickly.

Lyra… Prius Hybrid. Advanced, (does video and audio) but looks like a space-age device. Complexity and unfamiliarity scares people. Good mileage though.

and so on…

Posted by Cars on November 24, 2003 at 6:51 AM (PDT)

27

I bought my first iPod the day they were available. It gets daily use both on battery and off. Last time I checked it was getting nearly 7.5 hours on a full charge.

When it gets below 5 I’ll spend $50 to replace it. Opening the iPod is simple.

Posted by david on November 24, 2003 at 7:06 AM (PDT)

28

“ipod… Miata. Small, curvy, excellently designed, looks good around a woman, underpowered, doesn’t do very much.”

Miata?  What a disgrace!  wink

I’d say at least an Audi TT or BMW Z3. 

Rounded edges, Expensive, performance/features that are great, but not the best.  wink

Posted by azdude_15gb on November 24, 2003 at 7:06 AM (PDT)

29

If you read and abide by the charging guidlines the battery will last a lot longer than 18 months, it works the same a mobile phone battery. If the battery is repeatedly charged even though its still has half charge it will eventually lose much of its life. (if that makes sense?) : )

Posted by Origin Unknown.... on November 24, 2003 at 7:16 AM (PDT)

30

totally cool film…

I’m glad to see an
important issue:
(apple accountablity)
getting it’s 15 minutes

cheers

Posted by michael on November 24, 2003 at 7:21 AM (PDT)

31

Are we all so blindly supportive of Apple that we’re going to attack people who don’t like the USER-NON_REPLACEABLE battery on the iPod?

Just because you CAN pry it open and replace the battery doesn’t mean that every person will have the skill.  The money argument is stupid as well…just because I have CDs to rip doesn;t mean I have money to refurb my iPod.

What if it was a gift?  What if I saved for 6 months just to buy it?  What if I went into debt just to pay it off?

Stop being smart-##### and attacking people who are voicing a legitimate concern.  The battery life, both in everyday use and in longevity, is a huge problem, and Apple has no valid excuse why it’s like this.  I have been using rechargable electronics since the first CobraPhone (cordless phone with a range of like 9 feet!)...never have I run into a 300-500 dollar product for which you cannot buy an easily-replacable battery.

WHat other fallacies are being spread in this thread? 

3G ipod batteriess are ANYTHING but easily replaceable. Even the people who would gladly pop a 2G pen will tell you that.  Try to remember that not everyone has the same level of technical expertise, or even the same freaking *product*, that you have.

Next, please don’t discuss rechargable battery life unless you have a clue.  Li-Poly or Li-Ion batteries do not hold memory.  They simply wear out.  Half-charge, full-charge, there is no difference.  What is measured here is the amount of energy they can output before the proper chemistry simply ceases to be.  Most people can’t grasp the concept, so it’s discussed in “charges.”

I fail to see why as a consumer of a VERY expensive MP3 player I should be expected to search out solutions to a problem that really shouldn’t exist in the first place.  If *I* called apple and they told me my 18-month old $500 player was toast, go buy a new one, well them’s fightin’ words.  I expect better for my money.

So should you.

Posted by stark23x on November 24, 2003 at 7:40 AM (PDT)

32

lol… :/ Stupid.

Apart from the fact that the battery IS replaceable, they forgot something. The ads they sprayed on are for 3G iPods, and guess what? 3G iPods have a different battery (no, I don’t know if it lasts longer, but neither do they).

So they are saying to everyone that a completely different product’s battery will be dead in 18 months just because:

A. The product they have (NOT the same as the other, new product) did.
B. They charge their iPod every day - some people (like me) charges their iPod every two days.

Posted by Erty on November 24, 2003 at 7:54 AM (PDT)

33

“anyone with any willpower whatsoever can gather up 100 dollars. That comes out to approx. 2 shifts at your crummy college-student job as cleanup guy at the local peep show. “

That’s not the point. After you pay $300 bucks for a device, you shouldn’t have to spend $100 every 18 months thereafter to keep it running. An 18 month battery life is unacceptable when combined with the cost to replace it.

Posted by Pat The Rat on November 24, 2003 at 8:01 AM (PDT)

34

Isn’t there a third option besides getting Apple’s $90 battery replacement or, ugh, doing it yourself?  Can’t you just get the new AppleCare for iPods for $55-60?  Doesn’t that get you a new battery if the first one fails in the first 2 years?

Posted by bamchum on November 24, 2003 at 8:12 AM (PDT)

35

Here’s the link for AppleCare for iPods:

http://www.apple.com/support/products/applecareipod.html

Posted by bamchum on November 24, 2003 at 8:16 AM (PDT)

36

A couple of points to make!

1) Apple should have had a battery replacement policy in place the day the iPods shipped (or at least 12 months later after warrantees gave out)

2) Batteries wear out and you should expect to have to pay to replace them.

3) The iPod uses the highest quality LI battery available and for most users it will last much longer than 18 months.

4) Part of the trade off in designing the iPod makes it difficult to replace the battery. Know that up front and make an informed decision.

So I understand the frustration of someone who dropped $300-$500 on a cool iPod only to have the battery “fail” in 18 months but WTF do you want them to do? The $90 replacement sounds reasonable. The LI battery is probably $40 and I wouldn’t replace one for less than $50 for someone that was not a friend myself.

I hope they update their stencil to say something more honest like:

It costs $90 to replace the battery in the iPod and my battery only lasted 18 Months.

This would inform people of the additional costs that can occur because of owning an iPod and avoid making two blankly incorrect statements.

1) The battery is unreplaceable. This is obviously not true as there are 2 options available.

2) The battery dies in 18 months. Most iPod batteries will last much longer than 18 Months.

If you have to lie to make your point? How strong is your point?

Posted by Doug Petrosky on November 24, 2003 at 8:44 AM (PDT)

37

This reminds me of the Monty Python skit “box of candy”.  A confectioner was trying to pass off inedibles as yummy candy. Crunchy frog was one of the items. 

Long skit short, at one point, the constable says “This box should bear a big red label “WARNING: LARK’S VOMIT” 

I think people posting here would appreciate Apple to do something similar to the ipod box “WARNING: NON-USER REPLACEABLE BATTERY”.  Apple will never do this, nor should they.

I love this movie, and have no problem with people being upset about the additional expense, but really, the reason that there is this problem is because the ipod is so awesome looking and tiny.  To make it look the way it does, Apple needed to use an exotic battery and tuck that battery deep in the guts of the ipod.  The result is fantastic, no slots, no screws, no bolts, no nothing. 

Apple made some decisions on the design of the product and those decisions impacted the consumers ability to service the ipod. 

Sometimes my watch doesn’t work - just because I spent a lot on it doesn’t mean I am going to crack open my Rolex and tinker around inside.  Think of the ipod the same way.  Rolex and Apple warrant a product for a certain period of time, not forever.  When something breaks, you need to send it in to get fixed.

When a product is outside of warranty and you call Rolex or Apple for what can be done to fix it, they will often give the option “you can buy a new one”. Its called suggestive selling, it is not the only option given, nor is it anything to get upset about. 

While we think that spending more initially on a product should mean we will spend less as time goes on, sometimes spending more initially means spending more and more throughout the life of the product. 

Apple at no point claims that by spending $500 on the product initially, that you will be protected from spending money again on maintaining your ipod, whether it be 18 months later or any other time period outside of the warranty. 

Lets face it.. batteries die.  I understand that they do die, and realize that when they die they go to battery heaven. From battery heaven, my ipod battery looks down on me and my new ipod battery and boy does that dead battery get really jealous!!

Posted by k-rock in USA on November 24, 2003 at 8:58 AM (PDT)

38

“After you pay $300 bucks for a device, you shouldn’t have to spend $100 every 18 months thereafter to keep it running.”

Isn’t this how TiVo makes money?

Posted by Steve on November 24, 2003 at 9:31 AM (PDT)

39

Man that was the funniest!

I just don’t understand people who can’t see the author’s point of view.  Too bad they have the blinders up.

BTW
$300 Initial cost (for the cheapest ipod)
$90 replacement for battery after 1.5 years
That is 30% of the original cost.  Imagine spending $900 on your 17” Albook 1.5 years later.  You’ve got to be crazy to rationalize that.  And no smart comments about apple care (I got mine and I have used it) covering repair costs.

Posted by ashah2 on November 24, 2003 at 9:41 AM (PDT)

40

This discussion is getting out of control. My Ipod is like my child. If it needs a new battery, I will provide for it with any means I have.

You don’t get angry at your child when he needs a heart transplant, do you? So why is it different for an ipod? The last time I checked, it cost a lot less for a new battery than an organ transplant.

We are iPod owners and we need to set an exmaple for other owners of digital music players - that includes regular battery replacement and abiding to all digital music copyright laws.

Posted by DFS on November 24, 2003 at 9:43 AM (PDT)

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