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More on iPod battery woes

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Friday, February 20, 2004
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“Which brings us to the hate part. Heinke has had battery problems with every single iPod he’s ever owned the first, the second and now the third. Even the most avid Macintosh enthusiast, he says, will tell you the iPod has a chronic problem with overstating its battery life and how long it lasts.

‘The good side is you’re just so happy to have one if you’re working out. It’s small and it fits in your pocket,’ he says. Then he adds with a laugh, ‘You just have to know how much power you have to have in the damn thing.’”

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Comments

21

Recently in the Apple Store at The Grove in LA, I heard a salesman telling a customer that the battery wasn’t an issue, because it was going to die within two years, but ‘who will want their iPod after two years anyway’.  Yeah, in two years I may want the newer version, but the iPod mini isn’t even heavy enough to be a paperweight.  Am I supposed to just throw it away at that point?

Complete BS!

I’ll admit that I haven’t had any battery trouble in the first 8 months of using my iPod, but the idea of a $100 replacement if/when I do have trouble is crazy.

Would it be right for a $1,500 laptop to come with a battery that wasn’t user-replaceable and cost $500 (1/3 the original price)?  No.

The battery simply isn’t a $100 component to the iPod.  It should be sold much closer to cost.  And, the service should be free… Apple’s the one who decided to make the thing non-user replaceable.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on February 20, 2004 at 4:23 PM (PDT)

22

Get Real people!!!!

Ever have a cell phone?  Notice that if you use it heavily, the battery goes in a year or so?  Same principle here.  LiIon batteries are only good for a certain number of charges, which is less than older technologies.  LiIon is good for, maybe 500 charges, while NiCad/NiMh were good for 1000, but NiCad reportedly had “memory” issues….

Ever price a cell phone battery - $50 easily.  Same as an iPod battery.  Just about every CE thing that uses LiIon batteries is the same price.

Laptop batteries are even more expensive - I’ve seen some run close to $300, depending on capacity and chemistry.  That’s roughly 1/3 off a $1000 laptop…

Posted by User on February 20, 2004 at 5:03 PM (PDT)

23

“Ever have a cell phone? Notice that if you use it heavily, the battery goes in a year or so? Same principle here.”

Yeah…one big problem..my cell cost 100 bucks…my ipod 300.

Fine..when a ipod can be had for $100 then the battery can die after a year. But at $300 on up..yes,I expect my ipod to function for a minimum of 18-24 months.

Some people actually have to save for an ipod and can not be expected to toss a 8- 14 month old $300 item into the trash and jog down to the local Best buy and plunk down another $300.

If you buy a $300 TV you dont go replace it every 12 months….you dont buy a new microwave that often.

Here is what Apple should do:

1-find a way to make the battery meter accurate w/i an hour. My meter is about 2.5 hours off.

2-Offer anybody a $125 credit when you trade in a ipod older than 14 months towards a NEW ipod. Then take the dead or fading ipods..refurb them and either sell them or whatever. At christmas time when everybody is scooping up the new $300 ipods…I’m sure there are alot of people who would be very happy with a 14 month old refurbished ipod for say $210.

3-Make the battery replaceable. My cell battery is really the back of my phone. There is a clip at the top..I pull that up and my phone separates. No reason something similar couldnt be worked into the design of an ipod. Pay $300 for new ipod..then 14 months later pay $60 for a fresh battery…that would be an acceptable solution I think.

Posted by knotme on February 20, 2004 at 5:49 PM (PDT)

24

The Cellphone analogy is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

Battery’s on cellphones are easy to replace, while the battery’s on the iPods are much more complicated to replace.

Posted by k on February 20, 2004 at 5:52 PM (PDT)

25

Geez, this guy must be unlucky. My iPod (Gen1 5GB), which I have owned for nearly two years is absolutely fine. I could easily get over 7 hours from it, and usually more.

I wish I could say the same for my iBook though… 3 years old and the battery lasts for 3 minutes…

Posted by Cozzie on February 20, 2004 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

26

I regularly listen to my 30g iPod at work. It’s never run out of juice even when I’ve had it going all day (8hrs.).  Usually it even has enough for the walk home.  Maybe I’m just lucky.

Posted by nosillec on February 20, 2004 at 7:20 PM (PDT)

27

Interestingly enough, I just took my iPod to the Apple store today because the battery life seemed rather short.  I get anywhere from 3 to 6 hours of play time out it.  The service tech told me this was actually normal and that the 8+ hours stated in the promotional literature does not represent “real world” use.  Needless to say, I was rather disappointed.

I still love my iPod and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but the short battery life is a bit of a drag.

Posted by Mountain Man on February 20, 2004 at 7:21 PM (PDT)

28

Battery life is heavily determined by usage amount AND usage patterns.

Check out [url=http://www.batteryuniversity.com]http://www.batteryuniversity.com[/url]

It his highly informative. Lithium-ion batteries’ ideal storage situation is at 40% charge at low temperatures.

Posted by Questioner on February 20, 2004 at 8:21 PM (PDT)

29

Virtually all other players have a built-in battery too, not easily replaced. Variation is possible, but it really sounds like there is no Apple-specific problem here. More battery would make a larger player—and if you want that, Belkin and others make an expanded battery pack for iPod.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/19/technology/circuits/19POGUE-EMAIL.html

And it’s true, HOW you use and charge a rechargeable device causes a LOT of variation. See also:
http://ipodbatteryfaq.com/

That’s not to say some people—with ANY manufacturer—have real and frustrating problems sometimes. They do, and they have my sympathies.

Posted by Nagromme on February 20, 2004 at 8:40 PM (PDT)

30

pls correct me if i’m wrong but didn’t Apple use lithium ion polymers for the 2nd gen ipods? Why did Apple go back to using plain lithium ions for the 3rd gens? I don’t see many 2nd gen users complaining abt batt life… Dell DJ uses lithium ion polymers and get at least 10 hrs of playback per charge w/c leads to charging less often therefore prolonging batt life…

Posted by Wizel on February 20, 2004 at 9:22 PM (PDT)

31

User,

The reason your cell phone analogy is so absurd is because most cell companies will give you a new phone FREE every 12-18 if you want it.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on February 20, 2004 at 11:24 PM (PDT)

32

Batteries have a limited lifetime as everyone pointed out. 

I was worried about this when I bought my first generation 5GB iPod.  I asked a “genius” at the AppleStore if it was replaceable—he noted Apple’s statement that it wasn’t intended to be, but was curious enough that he popped the back of one exposing the battery and a easy to remove connector.  It was clear that replacing a battery would be a 5 minute unskilled task at the worst.

I bought the iPod and still use it heavily every day.  Its runtime on a charge dropped to about 3 hours and a few weeks ago I bought a replacement battery from SmallDog Electronics for about $45.  It was fresh - its manufacture date was Jan 2004.  It took me about 5 minutes to do the change and now I’m back up to about 8 to 9 hours of play time on a charge.

Posted by steve on February 21, 2004 at 5:00 AM (PDT)

33

Here’s a question for a battery boffin. Approximately how much power does the iPod battery kick out during it’s expected life? And how many AA batteries would you have to buy to produce the same? Factor in the average price for the AA’s and you then have a comparison of costs.

I, for one, would be interested in the outcome.

Posted by bobsyerunkle on February 22, 2004 at 8:57 AM (PDT)

34

My 5 mo. old iPod 30gig battery would only hold 30 minutes charge. First was told that Apple would replace for free. Later told I must pay shipping. Instead bought the AppleCare extended warranty. They sent a box, I sent it back. 2 days later I recieve a brand new iPod. Hope this battery lasts more than 5 months. At least you can buy batteries and change them yourself now.

Posted by raja on February 22, 2004 at 10:10 AM (PDT)

35

Hey I think instead of complaining and moaning and comparing the Ipod to the iriver or zen or whatever, WTF dont you save ur breath and my time and go buy one of those other products. I have an ipod and i love it, no probs with battery life. If you dont like it get something else, why moan and waste our time. Dont like the mini, then dont buy it, no one is forcing you to, but dont take up other ppls time with ur moaning. If you dont like the ipod go to the zen users website whatever that is, but stay away from here, PLEASE !!! Want to discuss something related to the ipod then pls do use the bandwidth and post, Im sure we all would welcome it!

Posted by cdj on February 22, 2004 at 11:43 AM (PDT)

36

What is your problem that you are afraid or morally scared to call Apple on the iPod’s battery?

I don’t want to buy an iriver or a Zen, I want to buy and iPod that will last 10 hours on an average charge. Is that so much to ask for?

Apple are a good company but they have seriously screwed up with the 5 hour 3G iPod battery life.

If other companies can do it with small players then so can Apple. I think it has to be just cheapness - maybe they got the cheapest battery possible and so they suck ###.

I paid serious money for my iPod and I demand the best battery available. Other manufacturers give their buyers this courtesy, why not Apple?

Posted by lets roll on February 22, 2004 at 1:23 PM (PDT)

37

update: The display on the new 30gig I was sent does not work! I was able to get it to come on briefly by holding MENU and PLAY for 5 seconds. When I completed charging it (overnight + to be sure) there was no display at all. Have tried every trick in the book including resetting and attempting to update the system (didn’t need it). Nada. No display. Plays fine, can’t see a menu.

Posted by raja on February 22, 2004 at 7:34 PM (PDT)

38

Regarding leaving the i-Pod connected to a PC (not a Mac). I found my battery was completely empty if the ipod was left connected to the firewire port on my PC. This may have been due to it being set up to work as an Firewire Disk initially. I now don’t have it setup as a Firewire disk and I on’t leave it connected to the computer when it’s switched off and it’s fine.

Regarding Battery Life. Mine sits on my desk at work playing every day. It accompanies me on my tram journey as well. I only play the music that’s stored on it (The only button I touch is the play/pause on the remote). I’ve checked the total play time by selecting all the songs by ‘last played date’ and dropping them in a play list and I’m consistently seeing 6.75 hours upwards (and the battery has only once gone completely flat).

The battery meter is however a complete waste of space! Mine’s currently only showing about 1/8 full after 4 hours. I expect it will play the rest of the day anyway!

Posted by Solomalee on February 23, 2004 at 1:36 AM (PDT)

39

After reading about peoples battery problems I thought Id do a test on mine.
I charged for 4 hours selected the first song and I got a total playing time of 9 hours and 5 minutes.

When I do a full charge I reset the charging cycle after 2 and a half hours because Ive noticed that the iPod stops charging itself at about 2h40m, when Ive left it with the 2h40m I only get 6 hours play time.

When the iPod says its charged is it measuring the power in the battery or is it just set on a timer?

Posted by dario on February 23, 2004 at 9:51 AM (PDT)

40

I’ve had my iPod for several months.  From day one I have had to reset it 9 out of 10 times I play it.  I don’t even use it off the battery that often.  I mostly listen to it on the desk at work sitting in the dock and plugged in.  This morning it would not start up again (Just had the little apple on it).  It sat in the dock for 4 HOURS and never would start up.  I reset it, and it started up.  Like I said, I have to do that 9 out of 10 times.  It’s annoying, because the battery or something is obviously defective and I’m just waiting for the day that it doesn’t start at all. $400 wasted.  They should make the battery replaceable somehow.  Either by the user or by sending it in.  I can’t understand why they don’t do this.  Other than that, I love the iPod

Posted by pam on February 23, 2004 at 11:02 AM (PDT)

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