Tag Archives | iPod

Apple Nano Settlement Reached, Lawyers Make a Windfall

Steve Jobs With Original NanoShortly after the first-generation iPod Nano launched, it became apparent that they scratched far too easily. That inspired one disgruntled customer to blog about his complaints, leading some enterprising lawyers to contacted him. A lawsuit was born, and four years on, a $22 million settlement has been reached.

Apple tacitly acknowledged the problem when it began to ship Nanos with protective slipcovers. Customers that bought their Nanos before protective covers were included with the product are entitled to recover $25 in restitution; customers that received covers will be eligible for $15, according to CNBC. The lawyers that sued Apple stand to gain $4 million–a very lucrative payout.

The suit alleged that the Nanos’ screens were not coated to protect against scratches. Jason Tomczak, the gentleman whose blogging inspired the lawsuit, said that his nano had become unreadable after a relatively short period of time.

I highly doubt that many of those first generation Nano owners still use their devices–including Mr. Tomczak (his is probably sequestered in an evidence bag). I’ll postulate that Apple understood its customers upgrade frequently, and decided that scratch resistance was not worth the expense.

Apple should not have shipped the Nano with such a defect. There is no way that Apple could not know that the devices would be passing in and out of people’s pockets, colliding with coins and keys. It would have been simpler and more cost effective to issue $25 checks four years ago, when its customers were unhappy in the first place.


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iPods? How About iFrauds?

ifrauds-teaserLast week, for reasons too complicated to explain here, I wandered into a “liquidation sale” near my home. I didn’t find what I was looking for. But I encountered a bevy of bizarre music players that tried, with varying levels of energy and success, to look like Apple iPods. I snapped photos, and bought a freaky “iPlay.” If you’ve got a strong stomach, check out my report on all this, which I’m calling “iFrauds.”

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iFrauds: The Fakest iPods Ever!

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Last week, I went to a “liquidation sale” in San Francisco. Along with the alarming 64-ounce bottles of perfume, leather jackets made from the skins of unspecified animals, and Shamwows, the show’s dealers offered music players. Ones that shamelessly rip off the iPod. Scads of them. I took crummy pictures with my iPhone–and, I’m ashamed to admit, bought an iFraud of my own.


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Apple Patentmania: 31 Years of Big Ideas

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Apple may be famously secretive, but there’s one guy the company has been confiding in for more than three decades now. That would be its Uncle Sam, in the form of the U.S. Patent Office. The company’s patent filings are a remarkable record of Apple’s brainstorms, from its biggest blockbusters to its most humbling flops to concepts that never got off the drawing board. The thirty-eight images that follow include multiple examples of all of the above. Click on the filing dates, and you’ll go to the patents where the drawings originated, mostly at the indispensable and addictive Google Patents.


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Is There an iPod Shortage? Apparently!

missingipodOver at Cnet, Tom Krazit has blogged about an analyst’s report that the iPod shortage that began at Amazon.com seems to be spreading to other venues. Which surprised me–not least because I didn’t know that Amazon was suffering from an iPod shortage.

But it is. I just checked, and while most of the myriad iPods (from the 1GB Shuffle to 160GB Classic) seem to be on hand for immediate delivery, Amazon itself doesn’t seem to have any 8GB or 16GB iPod Touches in stock, though you can order them there for fulfillment by other merchants.

(Side note: Is iPod Touches correct, or should that be iPods Touch?)

The only other sign of a lack of iPods I found at Amazon was the listing for the 1GB green Shuffle. The company doesn’t expect to be able to get that model to customers by Christmas, which will no doubt ruin untold holidays. (Okay, maybe not–especially since Apple.com has them in stock.)

A spotty supply of even a few iPod models at one major retailer suggests that Apple’s music players continue to sell briskly, which makes for an interesting contrast with this BusinessWeek story which speaks of the possibility that iPod sales may be down this quarter for the first time ever. Even if Apple has a merry Christmas iPodwise, the gist of the BW article is surely on target: Most of the folks who want iPods have them, and it’s going to get harder and harder for Apple to come up with new models that make for tempting upgrades. For instance, I can’t imagine that many owners of third-generation iPods Nano have felt much of an urge to splurge on the fourth-generation version.

In that light, it makes sense that the iPod Touch is in short supply–at Amazon, at least–since it’s a relatively recent model that’s a great leap forward in many respects compared to the classic models, the Nano, and the Shuffle. (Anecdotally, the Touch seems to be one of Apple’s most-loved products–everyone I know who has one adores it, which is not something you can say about the iPhone.)

Long term, Apple is going to have to sell lots of iPhones–and to come up with other compelling gadgets–to make up for the fact that the world’s need for iPods is declining. Short term, it’ll be fascinating to see if there’s ever a new iPod that is, indeed, strikingly new rather than a modest refresh…


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“Father of the iPod” Departs Apple

We usually don’t cover executive comings and goings here at Technologizer, but this onee merits a mention: Apple Senior Vice President Tony Fadell has left full-time work at Apple and will be an advisor to the company. Fadell was not only the head of the company’s iPod division, but the guy who came up with the idea of the iPod in the first place. In fact, the former Philips employee–anyone remember Philips PDAs such as the Velo?–came up with the idea of the iPod on his own, and approached Apple with it. I’m pretty sure that Steve Jobs is awfully glad that Fadell came to Apple, and that Apple was smart enough to see the idea’s potential.

(It makes for an unanswerable but fun what-if question to muse on what might have been if Fadell had sold the iPod idea to a different company: There’s probably an alternate universe in which it ended up being a product from Philips, Creative, Rio, or some other company. It might have been very successful, but it also wouldn’t have been the iPod that Apple made. And speaking of what-ifs, where would Apple be today if Fadell hadn’t approached it with the iPod idea? Would it have ended up making an iPod anyhow? We’ll never know…)

Fadell is being replaced by Mark Papermaster, a former IBM executive. IBM is suing him, saying that his contract with Big Blue had a non-compete clause which prohibits him from working for Apple.


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New iPod Nano: The Technologizer Review

The iPod Nano isn’t just the smallest iPod with a screen–it’s also the one that Apple reinvents on the most aggressive schedule. It debuted as a skinny plastic music player in September 2005; became a skinny aluminum music player a year later; and transmogrified into a short, squat aluminum music and video player a year after that. And earlier this week, the Nano morphed once more: It’s now skinny again, but with the video capability of its third-generation predecessor, and a few new features and refinements.

The visual difference between the new, narrow fourth-generation Nano and the square model it replaces is the most striking industrial-design change for an Apple product since…well, since the square Nano replaced the narrower 2G model. The new Nano may look different, but its features haven’t changed radically; most owners of the previous Nano shouldn’t feel too lustful over its successor. But I ended up liking the new model more than I thought I would at first glance.

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T-Poll: iPod Nano Abbott vs. iPod Nano Costello

The new skinny iPod Nano is here, in its 8GB version, at least–I know, because I have one right here. I’m working on a review, and one of the most significant differences compared to its predecessor is the one that’s by far the most obvious: The old one was short and squat, while the new one is tall and slender.

Which design is better? On some level it probably boils down to personal preference. I’m still making my mind up, but I thought I’d ask you which has more appeal. (Other differences between the two Nanos: The new version is thinner and lighter, and the color is on both sides, versus the silver back of the previous model.)

Here are the two candidates–that’s the new guy on the left, of course. (Abbott and Costello metaphor used in headline stolen from Ryan Block.)

And here’s the poll–thanks for voting!


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Funnest. iPod. Ever.

I get along pretty well with copy editors and other grammar experts, but I’m not a language snob myself–I enjoy using and abusing words, and making up my own ones when I don’t know of any existing ones that will suffice.

So I hereby officially approve of Apple’s tagline for the new, slimmer iPod Touch: “The funnest iPod ever.” Sure, “The Most Fun iPod Ever” is grammatically unassailable and means the same thing. But it’s nowhere near as…fun.

And I think that Apple’s probably in the clear given that Merriam-Webster does mention funnest as an acceptable (albeit unusual) inflection of fun.

If “The funnest iPod ever” proves to be unpopular with word pros, it’ll be the second time an Apple slogan has been linguistically controversial: “Think Different” provided lots of fodder for debate. It’s also as good a candidate as any for Apple’s most famous tagline ever–so I suspect that the company will weather any gripes that come their way concerning funnest. If it starts calling the new Nano “the most thin iPod ever,” we’ll know it’s just being difficult.

(Side note: Years ago, Wendy’s adopted the slogan “Ain’t no reason to go anyplace else,” and I remember lots of flack about the use of ain’t from teachers and others with a professional interest in proper grammar; Wendy ended up dropping it. I think America has gotten a lot more easy-going about language over the last few decades.)

The other thing that’s interesting–and yes, even fun–about “The funnest iPod ever” is its suggestion that Apple is going to be really serious about mobile gaming. At the moment, we think of the iPod Touch as a music player that also does video and applications; I wonder if Apple’s goal is to get folks thinking of it as a handheld gaming device first. Maybe even the handheld gamingest device ever.

And aw heck, let’s make a T-Poll out of this:


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iTunes 8 First Impressions: Pretty, Good

It’s really tough to review any application or service that relates to musical tastes: The kind of music you like is intensely personal, and it can have a huge impact on how pleased you are with a product. Please bear that in mind as you read my initial impressions of iTunes 8–and know that my music collection, while quite sizable, consists mostly of stuff from the 1950s and 1960s. (Offhand, I’m not sure if I have more than fifty songs on my hard drive recorded in this century.)

iTunes 8, which Steve Jobs announced today at the Apple event in San Francisco, has a few major new features..

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