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February 04, 2006



this is an ignorant blog posting. how can you comment on something that never happened to you? i treat my ipod like an egg. i simply hooked the ipod up to my computer and updated my music. then - nothing. dead. the third one in twelve months. five days short of the end of the warranty. and they want me to pay to replace this?! how much did your walkman cost?

Jim Hillhouse

Jim answers...
I have owned at least one, usually 2 (so that one was always handy), sometimes more (extra mobile HD space) of every iPod Apple has made. By my count, that means I've owned over 15 iPods, qualifying me as someone with a bit of iPod experience, I'd say.

And never has a single one ever just broken. Whenever I hook them up, use them as hard drives, or playing music they just work. Here are the only problems I've had:
1. 5G iPod wipe iTMS music off itself, so I reset it and all was well.
2. 3G iPod crashed, so I reset it and it still works well.

All of this may sound as though I treat my iPod like "an egg". Well, I do treat them well. But I use them pretty hard. And they show it, but they still work, even the 2G iPod I have.

I don't know why Sarah has had such bad luck with her iPods. I guess some are lucky and some aren't. But 3 iPod failures in 12 months is something that I have never experienced even after owning 15 of them.


I thought Joseph Nacora's article hit right on the money. Just becuase shelling out $2-500 for some product is easy money for you, and you treat your ipod as if it's a Monet painting; doesn't mean others should be bashed for actually putting the product to the test.

You said it yourself, that your Sony Walkman lasted well over 5 years. Would't you think that a product with better technology and a higher price tag, give consumers the same logevity if not even more!?

As for the tech support, apparently you have connections. Cause if you're out of warranty (or you buy the outrageously expensive extended one) you are just S.O.L.

It is evident that Apple is in this for the profit gain, and has forgotten the real inner workings of real genuine customer service.

Jim Hillhouse

Jim responds...

James, you state that I treat my iPods like a Monet, rather than giving them the test. I do not know where you got that idea. I certainly wasn't from my posting. In fact, the only reference to a museum piece was when I wrote, "And it's not like I treated my Walkman as though it were a museum piece--no, it went to sea with me, workouts, jogging, outdoors, etc.".

I do treat my iPods well, but not as well as a piece of art. I take my present 5G everywhere, just as I've done with my others, since it's also my PDA, so it, just as with my previous iPods, has scratches and shows that it is definitely being used hard on a daily basis. But I do take care of how I use my iPod in the the following way:

1. I have a Belkin case.

2. I put a Crystal film on the front.

3. I do not use my iPod to conduct ground hardness studies.

Perhaps you meant to state that I treat my iPod carefully. And yes, that's probably true.

And where does your idea that I may easily afford $200-500 come from? Were that the case, then why would I treat my iPods with any consideration? After all, if buying an iPod is like getting a cup of coffee for me, then I should care a less how I treat my iPod since, if one fails because I drop it or sit on it, then I'll just go buy another one, right?

While the iPods I have owned are not yet as old as my Walkman lasted, they are showing that they can last just as long not only under my ownership, but from others as well. Caveat: I did hear that one of the 3G iPods did of course need a battery replacement.

I'm not "bashing" anyone. I don't know Joseph Nocera but assume him to be a good, honest, and honorable man and a responsible journalist who, at least from my vantage point, had an ax to grind, one that may have been valid given his experience. He stated his point of view; I stated mine; neither of us bashed. But when someone writes a fairly one-sided article, imho, in such a high-profile paper as the New York Times, then...yeah, they are going to get counter views such as mine.

As for my "inside connections" at a multi-billion dollar, multi-national, corporation, were that but the case. Yes, I have friends who work for Apple, but I have never asked them to help me in any way when I have had my albeit minor iPod issues, though I am more than glad to do so on someone else's behalf. Weird, perhaps, but that's me.

I know what my warranty is and so, no, I will not call Apple Care for an iPod problem 90 days after purchase because I know what the answer is going to be. Just as I didn't call Sony when my 3 year old DVD player literally quit one night while I was watching a movie because they are going to say what Apple will say, that yes, I am out of warranty and so I am SOL. That's just the way the consumer electronics business is.

I must be charmed since I've never had an iPod just quit for no reason not associated with harsh wear and tear...heck, let's call a spade, a spade, abuse.

And it is not evident that Apple has forgotten genuine customer service. What is evident is that Apple has brought its customer service for iPods more in line with that offered by other consumer electronics producers. What else would you expect from a publically traded company in that market space?


While I respect your thoughts, perhaps it is I who feel a bit "jipped" by the system Apple has set in place, in attempt as you say to make a profit and churn out "what consumers really want"- products that break down and have to be rebought, thus continuing the vicious money making cycle.

I took care of mine, just as I am sure you have, and probably only dropped it once. The day after my year warranty ran out, it started having internal hard drive problems-- none of which the apple "genuises" could figure out. They (Jim's note: nice...). I didn't seem to think it was funny.

I feel as though I am getting trapped into their web of deceit and trickery yet again, as I cannot stand the thought of not having my songs. I could consider other products on the market, but I am attracted to what Apple has to offer, and the competition is not nearly as strong. So I am somewhat forced to buy a new one. Also, since the repair of my old one seems to be such a hassle....

From the circle of friends I have been talking to, they have been through at least 2-3 ipod revolutions because of such similar problems.

Am I seeing a trend, that Apple is turning a blind shoulder to?

While mine as well as other people's concerns seem to be small in comparison to the millions of dollars being banked because of this revolutionary product, we musn't become so high-tech and burgouise (thus consumed in this dog eat dog world) that we forget the old time values of the past.

If this product is being marketed toward a certain age demographic, they should be prepared for the pitfalls it will encounter.

"smile have a nice day, your warranty expired, there's nothing we can do about it" seems like a poor excuse and a waste of company funds. Let alone the fact that shelling out $200-500, does not even remotely guarantee that my device will last even a year?-- something's not right about that.... things in society have become so expendable these days.

It just seems as though Apple has sprung upon its consumers a way of dealing with things we are not used to.

We are always taught that the Customer is always right, "you can return it or get it fixed if you have your receipt", "buy this protective/warranty/outrageously expensive but will do whatever, and this prodcut will last a while" type of mindset.

And when such a product puts our life in a situation where we can't live without it, but we hate to love it (because of its negative aspects) -- it puts us into a Catch 22 situation, where we are no longer in control anymore.

I am a fan of Apple and it's interesting products that they bring to the table, however I don't agree with the inner workings of their customer service and keeping people happy with the products that they already own.

I hope they can change my mind about that....


Ipods are generally a status quo thing. It is a luxury item. We buy it because it looks cool. There are other choices of mp3 players that are small, and can deliver the same amount of songs. But we choose to continually buy it. In the world of supply and demand. Their prices wouldn't be that high a price if people didn't go crazy over ipods.
For the meantime, it is serving it purposes for me, it is making me look cool, hip and in the "now". When everyone doesn't think that ipods are cool anymore, then maybe i would think twice again in buying a replacement ipod. But for now, i am a proud ipod owner.

We are merely suckers for the ipod generation.

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