Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Apple: iPods built to last 4 years

The internet community has continued to question durability of Apple's iPod line, leaving some consumers to question whether the popular portable media players are built well enough to withstand the normal everyday wear and tear. Apple has acknowledged some issues in the recent past, offering battery replacements to some and free Nano replacements to those customers who purchased the tiny players with easily-cracked or scratched LCDs. Other problems remain, however, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune, and its virtually impossible to determine how widespread the problems actually are, as Apple is the only reliable source for data; however, Apple spokesperson Natalie Kerris says that iPods have a failure rate of less than 5 percent, which is "fairly low" compared to other consumer electronics. "The vast majority of our customers are extremely happy with their iPods," Kerris said, noting that iPods are designed to last four years.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst for Enderle Group in San Jose estimates that 15 percent of iPods will fail within one year. The analyst noted that a 15 percent failure rate is roughly comparable to other small electronic devices.

One online survey suggests that Apple's iPod failure rate is around 14 percent--half of which were battery related and half of which were related to the hard drive found in Apple's larger-size iPods. Some industry watchers, however, believe that sheer numbers--which are quite large as Apple has sold over 40 million units total--are responsible for most reported iPod troubles.

"Any time you have that many of anything," some will fail to function properly, according to Bob O'Donnell, vice president at IDC.

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