Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Apple left fearing the iPod backlash

Apple left fearing the iPod backlash
Mark Prigg, Evening Standard
11 July 2006

THEY are the must-have gadgets for thousands of music-loving Londoners. But there is increasing evidence that the iPod could go the way of the Betamax video and the MiniDisc.

Some owners of the Apple MP3 players are reporting a series of serious technical faults with their machines and are turning their attentions to other brands.

They claim:

• The batteries in older iPod models - which cost up to £300 - refuse to recharge after only a year of use, rendering the gadgets useless.

• The newly launched iPod Nano has a faulty screen that is easy to scratch. Appl e admits there is a problem and has had to issue protective carriers.

• On Apple's internet chatroom, owners of the iPod Shuffle are complaining that their players have simply crashed altogether. A website devoted to this particular problem has had 40,000 visits.

Ethical issues are also emerging. Apple is investigating claims of sweatshop conditions in the Chinese factories where they are made. Meanwhile rival models,which cheaper and look slicker, are entering the market. Sony has had success with its Walkman phones and Microsoft is said to be preparing a rival for Christmas.

Adam Vaughan of gadget magazine Stuff said: 'People are looking for the next big thing and the iPod is suffering. They seem to be facing a backlash and their competitors are all doing well.'

Apple denies it has a problem with quality. Greg Joswiak, vice-president of iPod marketing, said it had a first-year failure rate of five per cent: 'A lot of products don't enjoy such a low failure rate. Mobile phones can be up to 30%.'

The glitches

iPod Nano, - £169, introduced in 2005 - scratches easily forcing Apple to include a free case in the box.

iPod Shuffle - from £69, introduced in 2005 - some users report machine freezing up.

iPod - £299, first introduced in 2002 - battery problems common.

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