Update: iPod’s Dirty Secret Secret Revealed | iLounge News


Update: iPod’s Dirty Secret Secret Revealed

Dave Shroeder has emailed us in his own words about the events that took place between the Neistat brothers and himself. Click ‘Read more’ to read the letter.

According to Dave Shroeder, the Neistat brothers (producers of the iPod’s Dirty Secret movie) had no intent on letting people know that there were solutions available for replacing the battery in iPods. Dave had provided the Neistat brothers with a mirror (server space) for their website, ipodsdirtysecret.com, to host their now infamous movie. Dave did this with one condition, that they place a link to Apple’s iPod Battery Service along with the movie. At first the Neistat brothers agreed, but then never posted a link to Apple’s website. Dave has since removed the mirror to the website and has posted a text file containing the email conversations that took place between Dave and Casey Neistat. Dave told us, “Please spread the word on these brothers who’d rather spread lies than the truth.”

Letter to iLounge from Dave Shroeder.

I offered to mirror their video after their original webhost apparently pulled out, with one condition: that they link to, or otherwise inform users about, Apple’s official $99 iPod battery replacement, since the video, as it stands, is incorrect: the iPod’s battery is replaceable, and, on top of it, there’s an official Apple program for $99.

They agreed to provide this information, and said they had no problem telling users how to solve the problem. I, in turn, provided webspace and bandwidth for them. The bottom line: after two days of lies and false starts, and milking my institution’s generosity by providing almost 100,000 downloads and 0.7 terabytes of data transfer, they NEVER posted any information about how to solve the problem that they promised to post. Their agenda seems clear, and that’s sensationalism, melodrama, and attention.

Before the mirror offer, I sent them two email messages indicating that there is now an official Apple battery replacement program, not to mention third party options, and that it would seem that if their purpose is to bring this to light, they should at least inform people of the solution as well…neither received a response. The first response was to my offer to mirror, and they just lied and stole the whole time, even netting another web provider over 50,000 ad views using OUR bandwidth. Nice.

- Dave

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There is a response page here


Posted by Leslie Chivers on November 30, 2003 at 12:55 AM (CST)


Leslie, if you have read the interview posted above, you should know that the brothers’ claim was true at the time they made the movie. During the call, he asks the Apple rep “so Apple doesn’t offer a new battery for the iPod?” The rep replies, “no, because the battery is internal.” The only option is refurb, which is the $255 charge.

You also would know that they tried a third-party battery replacement, and it didn’t work. I think they were justified in calling the battery “unreplaceable.”

Now, I would have to agree that it’s irresponsible for them not to post the info about Apple’s new battery replacement program. It wasn’t available before, but it is now, so it’s dishonest for the brothers not to acknowledge it.

p.s. regarding the recording of the call—Apple support already stated that the call may be recorded; both parties were aware of it and their consent is implicit

Posted by Nickster on November 30, 2003 at 12:38 PM (CST)


> 3) Isn’t it illegal to write graffiti?

Actually, in the places the subject of the video spray-painted, it may be no more illegal than the original iPod posters themselves. Check this out:


Some samples:

“In Toronto, at least, wild posting is not illegal. Companies that want to put up posters, however, are supposed to first get permission from building-permit holders at construction sites, says Angie Antoniou, manager of the city’s transportation services department, which handles complaints about posters on public thoroughfares. But posters are rarely fined for failing to get permission.”

“In spite of - or perhaps because of - grey areas with regard to legality, a walk in commercial districts in many Canadian and U.S. cities turns up these advertising posters everywhere.”

Posted by zan on November 30, 2003 at 1:18 PM (CST)


There we go….Apple fanatics are out again.  An Apple fanatic can NEVER admit something is wrong with anything manufactured by Apple.  Every other company in the world can mess up….but no…not Apple.

You are so locked up inside your Apple-is-the-best world that you do not even realize what your comments look like from the outside.

You guys are pathetic, you are losers and all you do is fucking whine whenever someone says something negative about ‘your company’.

Get a life….get a clue….go out and have fun.  You are scary people indeed.

iPod is a great product….but it does have flaws.  And Apple is not the ‘nice’ company when it comes to protecting the customers’ investments.  They replace and render products obsolete faster than any other computer MFR in this country.

Posted by Apple_Fanatics Are Out! on November 30, 2003 at 8:52 PM (CST)


Nice ad hominem attack buddy. We’ll grant that Apple is a company and could care less about your problems if doing so is going to drive them out of business. Let’s stick to the facts.

“iPod is a great product….but it does have flaws.” The same flaws that the Dell Digital Jukebox has. I noticed they buried in their support pages that the their battery is not replaceable.

Most PDAs have this same problem: my Palm V and Palm m505, iPaqs… Apple announced that the battery was not replaceable. Apple honored some early 1st G iPod out of warrantee due to defective battery (Why? Good business.). Apple offers a replacement policy (one day after these idiots register their domain name, and long before any news site picked them up).

These same idiots who go out and fuck up a battery replacement of an out of warrantee iPod that they purchased from someone who wasn’t aware of such. They knew very well what they were getting into when they thought they scammed someone. They were too cheap to pay $20 to have a professional install it or wait a few days for Apple to offer their own (the rumor mill has been buzzing about battery replacement and AppleCare extension since October.

It seems the Apple fanatic out here is you. You want Apple to change the laws of physics and make a Li-Ion battery that is good for more than a few hundred recharge cycles.

Posted by anonymous on December 1, 2003 at 12:24 AM (CST)


I’ve been a loyal Mac user for 25 years (longer than many of Apple’s current “true believers” have been on this planet), but the iPod battery issue and Apple’s so-called “solution” ($99) as well as it’s “repair policy” ($250) are not only pathetic by any standard, but are possibly worthy of a class action lawsuit. And I find the anger being directed at the Neistat brothers confusing and downright surreal.

I love my Apple products (those that work properly… and I can, off the top of my head, list a dozen or so products I personally have purchased from Apple over the years which were complete junk), but I can’t stand the Branch Davidian obsession of some brand loyal drones who can’t ever admit that Apple ships crap product on occasion.

Further, the same people who purchase “Think Different” posters and t-shirts and who therefore consider themselves edgy and dangerously creative display an anal Ozzie and Harriet faux-horror when the Neistat brothers do the same through their video. The spray painting was a little too authentic for those who are used to expressing their arty subversion with designer electronics.

If the Neistat brothers had been spray painting “Windoze sux” on some Microsoft posters, you’d all be wetting yourselves and congratulating each other on belonging to such a hip creative band of rebels.

The Neistat brothers are spot on.

The outraged grand-children of Iowa dentists are not.

Posted by Spudnuts on December 1, 2003 at 2:20 AM (CST)


And in case you’re wondering…


I got one of the 5 GB iPods which crapped out after 15 months. When I was told how much I had to pay to get it “repaired” I just laughed at the Apple phone rep. He actually expected me to pay $250 for a refurb replacement.

I ask you…

What kind of idiot gives another couple hundred dollars to the same people who just ripped you off and said: “Them’s the breaks, sucker.” It’s like thanking a mugger for being so efficient and then offering to send him a check later as a gratuity.

I’ll buy a Neuros instead.

Is iPod a better, sexier player than the Neuros?

Hell, yeah.

When. It. Works.

But a 100% fully functioning Neuros is better than a 0% functioning iPod. Heck. A damp paperbag full of sand is better than a 0% functioning iPod.

Posted by Spudnuts on December 1, 2003 at 2:41 AM (CST)


You have been a Mac user for 25 years, eh? That’s pretty amazing, since the 20th anniversary of the Mac’s release is coming up in January…

Posted by anonymous 2 on December 1, 2003 at 2:52 AM (CST)


Hard to believe, but Apple existed long before the MAC.  Remember the Apple IIC and Lisa?  If memory serves me right, Jobs and Woz built the Apple I in ‘77…..

Posted by Jon Lockey on December 1, 2003 at 8:18 AM (CST)


You all attacking the iPod have to realize something.  EVERY case you have posted, it was OUT of warranty.  Now, when that other player breaks, out of warranty, call support and ask them to fix it.  They’ll laugh in your face, and then charge you for a new one.  This is nothing new.

Posted by anonymous on December 1, 2003 at 11:26 AM (CST)


Doesnt anyone think that $99 is still no deal?  Too much money on your hands?

Posted by mr 99 on December 1, 2003 at 7:24 PM (CST)


All these posts by Anonymous and Anonymous 2….

What a joke….they fall into their own traps.  Get out of here you pathetic ignorant fools.

Posted by "Anonymous" posters on December 1, 2003 at 8:54 PM (CST)


I too was stuck with a non functioning iPod (1st Generation) less than SIX months after it was released. My girlfriend spent a hard earned $400 on it, and after hearing that RIDICULOUS line of crap about a $255 fix I was outraged.

This is what pissses me off; when Steve & Co. engineered this thing years back, I’m sure Steve asked what the deal was with the battery. No doubt he was told “well it ruins the design if we have screws showing, ect” so heck if the battery lasts only 18 months, oh well. It’s such crap to design an environmentally unfriendly device (dead battery? just trash it), and then to not have ANY replacement OR at least a half assed explination ready to address this issue down the road? Did he just think nobody’s battery would ever die? Cripes.

And just to quiet the Apple defenders, it was people like myself who did not take “tough shit” for an answer, and Apple shortly thereafter changed their warranty to one year (from a paltry 90 days). I love Apple products, appreciate their design, and am very faithful. BUT; when they screw up and hose people for $400 they deserve to be spanked.

Posted by iPod user 001 on December 1, 2003 at 10:21 PM (CST)


If these two morons had actually put some time and thought into this they might actually be getting some credit right now instead of the contempt they deserve.  If they had sat down, done a reasonably informative site, I know I would have said “Wow, thanks for the info guys” Instead they made a grab for their 15 minutes and unfortunately they got it.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a problem with the battery design on the iPod.  Would I have sacrificed an inch in height to get a battery that was easily replaceable?  You bet!  Did this talk me out of buying an iPod?  Not on your life.  I went into this with my eyes wide open.  But I’m not thanking Mutt & Jeff over there for the info.  Instead I thank the early adopters who didn’t take Apple’s “S**** you get a new iPod” line for forcing Apple to give us a battery replacement program that is fair IMHO.  Thanks guys.


Posted by New iPod User on December 2, 2003 at 2:16 AM (CST)


>> You have been a Mac user for 25 years, eh? That’s pretty amazing, since the 20th anniversary of the Mac’s release is coming up in January…

I use Mac and Apple interchangeably as do most people. But if you wish me to be specific… I have been an APPLE user for 25 years. The first Apple I used was an Apple II. Which came out in April, 1977. Although, I didn’t use one until around 1979. So I guess technically, we’re talking about 24 years and some change.

That work for you?

Posted by Spudnuts on December 2, 2003 at 1:51 PM (CST)


>> You all attacking the iPod have to realize something. EVERY case you have posted, it was OUT of warranty.

Sure, and if this was one or two people who had their gadget crap out, it would be a non-event. But we’re talking about many, many people who are finding that their $400 “deluxe BMW-like high quality Apple lifestyle audio device” has a lifespan of 15-18 months.

If I spent $50 on a 15-month iPod, I might have no problem replacing it (environmental issues notwithstanding). But when Apple assaults us with their marketing message that Apple stands for the highest quality and that the iPod’s premium pricing is a reflection of their commitment to their customers and their products, you have to feel burned when they tell you to pay up to fix THEIR problem or walk.

That’s the downside of portraying yourself as a high quality, high priced company who manufactures only the best. Those customers are going to hold you to that. If I pay Porsche prices, I sure as fawk better not get Kia service and quality.

And finally, when did Americans ever get it into their heads that a year and a half is an acceptable lifespan for ANY product? People just shrug their shoulders and buy a new PS2 or Xbox or iPod every year? At what point do you push back on these companies and say: “We don’t want to pay an extra $50 for Applecare. We’ve already paid a premium and I don’t think it’s too much to ask to expect this product to last several years.”

If you keep bending over, these corporations are going to keep selling you the same crap product and charging YOU extra to guarantee the product THEY manufactured.

How would you feel if we were talking about Panther instead of iPod? Let’s say Apple ships a bug-ridden Panther and then they ask you to pay the full price again for a working version. Or better yet… they ask you to pay $50 for “Panther Care” which means they’ll agree to fix the bugs later and for “free.”

How about this revolutionary idea?

Why don’t they ship a quality product from day one? Charge you a flat price? And *gasp* stand by their product?

Imagine that.

That just might be insanely great.

Posted by Spudnuts on December 2, 2003 at 2:11 PM (CST)


“How would you feel if we were talking about Panther instead of iPod? Let’s say Apple ships a bug-ridden Panther and then they ask you to pay the full price again for a working version.”

This is EXACTLY what Apple do with MacOSX. Every year brings a “new” version for which loyal Mac people have to shell out $120+. What do you get?> Some bug fixes, lots of changed eye candy, and some new utilities.

Woe betide you if you try to hang on and don’t upgrade. MacOSX 10.0, 10.1 and so on are high and dry with no bug fixes for known exploits and cracks.

My Linux friends unkindly refer to the basically annual $120+ charge to keep MacOSX maintained as the “Apple Tax”.

I think Apple wants the same for the iPod—ensure most people will break, discard, or trash their iPods within 18-24 months, just in time to buy the newer version. That’s why there are no meaningful firmware upgrades for older iPods, and the repair rates are outrageous.

Posted by LinuxGal on December 2, 2003 at 2:45 PM (CST)


I dont understand why so many people are annoyed at the Neistat brothers for bringing this to our attention. It makes me wonder if iPod is some kind of religious sect and ipod users are brain washed . The loyalty just seems ridiculous. Apple seems to be unable to do no wrong. I just got my iPod so maybe I will be joining this sect.
Apple’s attitude to this was wrong. The help line did advise that people buy a new iPod after 18months. Its ridiculous to expect that at such a cost for the iPod. Even paying $99 seems harsh too me. (a sony minidisc runs on 1 AAA for 36 hours!!)
Whatever you iPod loyalists think - at the end of the day - Apple is there to make money out of you. They did not make the iPod to make you happy (although it has made me happy ). Its to make money.
We need people like these brothers to keep a watch on the multi-corporations. Even if they broke some rules.
What if people said the same about “Erin Brockovich” when she was the little person making a stand.  I realise you cant really compare the two. But just the princible.
I am sure people who are savy enough to be made aware about the dirty secret - will also be savy enough to find out that APPLE does now offer a battery change (at a cost of course).  Most iPod owners I know arent even aware of this problem.
I hope this email is not censored as I will seriously worry about the Apple big brother and iPod fanatics.
If insults are supposed to be deleted - how come all the abuse towards the brothers is still up there.




Posted by Mark on December 3, 2003 at 5:39 AM (CST)


“It makes me wonder if iPod is some kind of religious sect and ipod users are brain washed”

THat’s because Apple has always cultivated a certain cultish following of evangelizers - makes for cheaper marketing.

Didn’t you catch the “fetish” discussion a while back?

The iPod is a fetish object in the same sense that certain religions fetishize objects. Saying something non-entirely-positive about it strikes some people like heresy.


Posted by AppleTheCult on December 3, 2003 at 8:47 AM (CST)


HA HA HA. Thank you. That discussion reduced me to tears, tears of laughter. The highlight of a dull day.  And its definately cleared a few things up for me.
.............but now I am also a little scared.

Posted by Mark on December 4, 2003 at 9:17 AM (CST)

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