Lawyer: Apple ‘ignored obvious defects’ with iPod nano | iLounge News


Lawyer: Apple ‘ignored obvious defects’ with iPod nano

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, the law firm representing plaintiffs in the iPod nano lawsuit against Apple, has sent out a press release announcing its claims. As reported last week, Jason Tomczak and other consumers have filed a class action suit over the iPod nano’s susceptibility to scratches.

Steve Berman, lead attorney in the case, says that Apple chose to ignore a design problem with the nano before it was released and has since downplayed the complaints from owners. “We intend to prove that in an effort to rush the iPod nano to the market, Apple ignored obvious defects in the design and later tried to cover up negative responses received from consumers,” says Berman. “We seek to recover money lost in purchasing this product as well as the $25 fee Apple has chosen to impose on those who have returned their product after it became unusable.”

The press release also attempts to describe the alleged defect with the nano. “Previous versions of the iPod separated the screen and controls from the case and was covered with a thick film of resin. In designing the nano, Apple reconstructed the housing into a seamless front where the screen and controls reside directly under a much less durable film of resin allowing irreparable damage to occur.”

The announcement goes on to say that “Apple knew the nano was defective, but chose to go forward with the release and pass the cost of replacing the defective device on to class members. The suit also claims that instead of admitting to the flaw after widespread complaint, Apple concealed the defect and advised class members to purchase additional equipment to prevent the screen from scratching excessively.”

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Wow, that law firm didn’t do any research, did they?

1. All white iPods use the same clear polycarbonate plastic material, which all scratch just the same.

2. All white iPods (nanos and full-sized) have a seamless front. It’s harder to tell with the 3G and 4G iPods because they have a thinner layer of clear acrylic covering the white plastic and screen.

3. The reason the nanos appear to scratch more easily is because the thicker layer of acrylic shows imperfections better.

The plaintiffs and the law firm are dumbasses.

Posted by Michael on October 24, 2005 at 3:55 AM (CDT)


This is so daft. Can you imagine what kind of judicial precedent this case would set if they win? Companies would either have to make scratchproof products, or come up with another silly disclaimer on the box. Apple would be liable to everyone who has ever purchased an ipod because (shock and horror) all ipods scratch easily.

Why don’t I just sue my car manufacturer for making my car vulnerable to key weilding vandals?

Posted by Popjunkie on October 24, 2005 at 4:17 AM (CDT)


“as well as the $25 fee Apple has chosen to impose on those who have returned their product after it became unusable.”

since when has surface scratches made an iPod unusable? Sure it might be annoying, but they don’t affect it functionally at all.

Posted by Nathan A on October 24, 2005 at 4:27 AM (CDT)



Posted by iJay on October 24, 2005 at 5:24 AM (CDT)


It seems that the issue with Apple is that there is an expected minimum level of build quality that is assumed from the product line.  Either kept at the same level or improved for each successive product.

Your cars have a certain level of protection due to paint quality, the next year’s models should have the same paint or an improved paint, not a weaker paint.  Intentionally dragging a key across the paint isn’t “normal wear and tear,” unlike small rocks making dents/chips or a microfiber cloth scratching your nano.

Posted by klew on October 24, 2005 at 5:28 AM (CDT)


<i>Your cars have a certain level of protection due to paint quality, the next year’s models should have the same paint or an improved paint, not a weaker paint.  Intentionally dragging a key across the paint isn’t “normal wear and tear,

Posted by iJay on October 24, 2005 at 6:04 AM (CDT)


What a bunch of fanboys we have here!  Jesus, if I buy a new LCD screen for my computer, and it scratches with just normal cleaning, then you bet I’m going to call it a defect.  In this day and age, there is no excuse for using cheap materials in goods, with such high mark-ups as an iPod!

They don’t even cost half of what the end-user pays, so Apple can spend an extra $3 on putting an anti-scratch coating on!

I can’t beleve the fanatic attitudes most iLoungers seem to have.

I hope Apple loose this case, and are forced to add an anti-scratch coating to their products.

iLounge motto…
“You cant go and complain about the perfect Apple here!!! lol

Posted by Tone on October 24, 2005 at 6:05 AM (CDT)


The reason some of the nanos were rendered unusable is because the scratches made the small screen to hard to read, apparently.

Everybody knows that nanos scratch easily. Even Apple knows it, or they wouldn’t recommend that nano owners buy a case. So there’s no point trying to deny that there’s a scratching issue. Obviously some people would rather have a refund than a case - and that’s up to them, if the court upholds it!

Posted by Magic Rabbits on October 24, 2005 at 6:17 AM (CDT)



Where did you get your info from?

Posted by Talking Madness on October 24, 2005 at 6:29 AM (CDT)


While you may argue that Apple ought to maintain the build quality of its products, there is still no grounds to sue a company should it simply fail to do this. Should a company be sued because it uses lower quality components on their electronic goods where their use doesn’t compromise any basic functions? In our world of consumer electronics, such cost-cutting happens all the time.

The bottom line is that scratches on an ipod happen all the time. No one is saying you should put your nano in your pocket with your keys and expect it to come out with no scratches at all. And unless you’ve been dragging your nano across the road behind your car, the scratches shouldn’t affect your ability to use the product.

The law (or Apple) shouldn’t have to protect consumers from their own idiocy.

Posted by Popjunkie on October 24, 2005 at 6:29 AM (CDT)


Guy you are missing the point they aren’t just sueing because the nano scratches, its because they think that Apple knew about the defects and put it out thier forcing you to buy an extra case and downplaying the complaints which they did. 250 threads on their comment about scratching and they said they got only a few complaints.

Posted by yourname on October 24, 2005 at 6:47 AM (CDT)


obviously, apple learned it’s lesson by including a cheap pouch with the new 5G ipods..

Posted by iJay on October 24, 2005 at 7:17 AM (CDT)



Apparently you haven’t seen how easy it is to scratch up a nano. And moreover how bad it can be across the LCD, which, last time I used mine, can and does impact how you use the bloody thing if you can’t clearly read the display.

When people feel they’ve been had or cheated, well, it’s no surprise that litigation usually ain’t far behind. Certainly decontenting and cheapening of materials and quality IS INDEED a fact of life with most any product one can buy, but in the case of the nano, there had been in the beginning the insinuation (from Jobs, no less) that this product COULD indeed go anywhere (and “anywhere” did seem to include pants pockets), value engineering notwithstanding. The warnings about using a case when ‘going anywhere’ didn’t happen until after reports of the relative ease of damage to units already in use started hot and heavy.

From the outset, the buying public certainly did NOT have any such expectation that the nano could be so easily scuffed and damaged, especially given the track records of previous iPods. All of those are also susceptable to scratch damage, but none are anything close to as bad as the nano’s own problems. Moreover, WHY SHOULD a consumer buy a product with the expectation that, as a given, it will become damaged, even from preventative maintainence measures (like cleaning and polishing from a microfiber cloth)?  For a couple of hundred bucks minimum, it’s not unreasonable for a consumer to expect SOME reliable level of quality longevity and survivability out of their purchased product.

If that quality is MIA, then no surprise…lawsuit.

Posted by flatline response on October 24, 2005 at 8:08 AM (CDT)


“obviously, apple learned it’s lesson by including a cheap pouch with the new 5G ipods..”

Which doesn’t do much good - since you have to repeatedly slide the iPod in and out of it to use it, you wind up accumulating scratches in the screen from the dust particles that become embedded in their “case”. I’ve already had to go out and drop money on PDA screen protectors since I’d like to actually be able to see pictures of my daughter on the screen a year from now.

I am hoping with all the fervor a heathen man like myself can manage that Apple’s slavish devotion to style over substance finally bites them in the arse. It’s neither expensive nor difficult to make these products more usable, it just takes away from the shoddy design of seamless surfaces. The biggest advantage the mini had was the elevated bevel around the screen.

Posted by Code Monkey on October 24, 2005 at 8:13 AM (CDT)


has everyone overlooked….

1. Theyve gone back to the 1G case styleing meaning light gets in under the scratches causing them to show more
2. Black shows up scratches way worse than white - which was introducted wit the nano.
3.The people who did this to their nano in such a short period of time probably didnt have a case and were animals - kept their nano in their pocket with their keys.

seriously you cant sue apple for scratching ur ipods lol
buy a case and stop tryin to sue someone else so u dont have to work fo you moneys

Posted by Faster The Chase on October 24, 2005 at 8:26 AM (CDT)


if they actually had their own nano tubes available at the time of launch this might not have been as big of a problem… of course there won’t be any third party cases available for a awhile, but no apple cases?  come on.

it’s all very interesting, i’m curious to see what comes of this.

Posted by kMoney on October 24, 2005 at 8:55 AM (CDT)


“1. Theyve gone back to the 1G case styleing meaning light gets in under the scratches causing them to show more”
- So you’re basically defending Apple by saying they went back to an abandoned design *known* to aggravate scratching issues with consumers, remind me not to hire you for my lawyer…

“2. Black shows up scratches way worse than white - which was introducted wit the nano.”
- I wasn’t aware there were different screens on the black and the white and it is the screen scratching that is drawing the bulk of the complaints. The suit is because the *functionality* of the iPod is damaged through a flawed design, it is not because they don’t look pretty.

“3.The people who did this to their nano in such a short period of time probably didnt have a case and were animals - kept their nano in their pocket with their keys.”
- And now we reach the BS ad hominem attacks. Animals? So I’m an animal because my 5G iPod screen accumulated more scratches in 3 days than three minis combined did in years of collective service? Even though it was kept in the Apple supplied case or was simply sitting face up on my desk?

The design itself is flawed for a consumer product. All the excuses about what other generations did and attempts at shifting blame to consumers won’t alter the facts surrounding Apple knowingly making products that put ephemeral style over usability. Now, whether that rises to the level of violating consumer protection statutes is a whole other matter, but that is for a court trial to decide, not a bunch of jackasses with their noses up the brown hole of corporate America.

Posted by Code Monkey on October 24, 2005 at 8:58 AM (CDT)


Everyone knows that Apple places style over practicality. Many higher end companies do this, and people buy in to it without any issues. Although a nano may scratch easily, earlier ipods scratch as well. I had to learn the hard way that if you use an ipod without a proper case, you’ll end up with a whole load of nasty scratches.

Thing is, it doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to realise that a case is needed when you first buy your ipod. It’s like buying an expensive diamond encrusted dress watch and expecting it to come out unscathed if you wear it doing everyday activities. If you choose to think that an ipod’s shiny surface somehow will not scratch, then how can you blame Apple for your own lack of good judgement?

In any case, just because a company designs products with asthetic value before practicality doesn’t mean that they ought to be liable to customers who believe they ought to produce a wholly different sort of product.

If (as reported) cases like those that protect Oakley spectacles don’t prevent the scratches on an ipod, then why doesn’t Apple make ipods out of matt, high impact plastic.

I didn’t see that request in any of the polls taken by this site…

Posted by Popjunkie on October 24, 2005 at 9:28 AM (CDT)


OK, this is just lame.  Here is a fun fact:  I own a 3g ipod and a nano.  Neither has a single scratch on it.  You know why?  Because I value the things that I spend hundreds of dollars on enough not to drop ‘em in my pants pocket with the keys and the loose change.  I haven’t read the full complaint from the litigants, but I can say just from what I have read in articles and seen in pictures that people who have had scratching issues with their ipods are simply careless.  Wanna clean your ipod—don’t use sandpaper for God’s sake!  I use an LCD cleaning cloth and LCD spray cleaner, and you’d think that I never used the things, they’re so clean and clear.  And my ipods have travelled with me all over this country.  As far as arguments that cases were not made available in a timely fashion, so there was no way to purchase anything to protect their Nano, well that’s crap too.  I bought mine, and decided that I needed a case.  Off to Wal Mart I go, buy a $5 business card case with a clear window, and voila—I have a case for my Nano.  As for the “apple coverup” theories, they are total s**t:  the only way that a lawsuit like this would even stand a chance in court might be if Apple had advertised them as being scratch-resistant, or some such, which they do not.  As far as lame a** lawsuits go, this takes the taco.  I am a law student, currently studying consumer protection and the law.  In many of the cases I have studied, the law does protect the stupid.  If it happens again here, I may have to drop out of law school from sheer embarrassment for being associated with a system that rewards stupidity.

Oh, and if you are thinking “oh these fanboys!” you can shove that theory.  I am very open to other arguments against Apple or any other corporation that might at times crap on the little guy—if they are legitimate.  This case clearly and obviously is not.

Posted by nononsense on October 24, 2005 at 10:15 AM (CDT)


“Nononsense” above has the best comment I’ve read to date about this supposed ‘issue.’

Posted by Joe Bob on October 24, 2005 at 10:31 AM (CDT)

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