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6/17/02 Monday's News Story DetailReturn to News Page

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iPod Reliability Reports
Last Updated: 7/19/2002

Updated iPods Announced at MWNY Expo July 17th, 2002: Apple announced a 20GB iPod ($499) and a price reduction for the 10GB model (to $399). The new 10/20GB iPods come with a wired remote control, new smaller headphones (avaiable for $39 separately) and a carry case (also available separately for $39.) The new models also have a solid state (no moving parts) scroll wheel. And there's a PC version to be offered (using MusicMatch as the PC software). And the new iPods have a 1 year warranty (instead of 90 days) per the apple store iPod warranty page and iPod specs page. See Apple's iPod product page for all the details.

(Original Article from June 2002 follows)

After a reader reported his iPod failed shortly after the 90 day warranty expired and noted other reports of failures in Apple's forums, - I wondered how common these failures are. Since you're 10 times more likely to hear about problems than those that haven't had any, I asked readers that have used their iPod regularly for more than 3 months to comment if they've had any problems. I had read somewhere (reader email or forum/website posting) that one iPod owner was able to buy a CompUSA extended warranty on the iPod for about $30 - after a sale. However I don't know if that price is accurate or if they typically will sell the extended warranty after a sale/or after a sale where it's not bought from their store. (Some of the reports below comment on the extended warranty.)

Tip for Failed iPod Owners: I've had several readers with failed iPods say they took it into an Apple retail store and were able to get a refurbished replacement, even when it was out of warranty. (I can't say this is standard procedure, but that is what several owners reported below and it's worth a try if there's an Apple retail store in your area.)

iPod Owner Comments on Reliability: (latest reports first.)
(From the initial response, I doubt I will have time to post every email and still get any other work done.)

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 3:19 PM)
    " Hello xlr8yourmac,
    Long time reader, first time writer.
    I've had my iPod since Christmas 2001 (a present from my brother) and had no problems with it. The back silver shell get's the standard scuffs and scrapes in my briefcase, but I have over 600 mp3's and Mac OS 9.2.2 as an emergency back up start up disk (which has come in very handy) and used it almost every day without a single problem.
    Brian Josselyn
    www.blackstarproductions.net "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 3:16 PM)
    " Hello again, Mike-
    I wanted to chime in here, because I definitely have a story to tell about my iPod experience... I got an iPod last December, it worked fine for about 3 and a half months, just *past* the warranty- and then it died, spectacularly. It wouldn't even mount, and showed a little icon of a hard drive being scanned, and a progress bar... it would stop suddenly before the end of the progress bar, and then just showed a folder icon with a question-mark: very similar to a Mac that can't find a System Folder! At that point it would turn off entirely.

    I wrestled with it for a while, tried to get it to mount over and over- no dice. So, I though I'd call Apple's 800 number, to see what my options were, and I got a nice woman on the line who directed me to point my browser at a particular Apple support page for info. That page said that an out-of-warranty iPod could be exchanged for a refurbished one- for about 250 bucks!! That, coupled with my initial purchase, was WAY more than I was gonna pay for a thousand songs in my pocket! So, I decided to blow it off, and started looking at other HD-based MP3 players. I wasn't too happy with Apple, and the unusually SHORT warranty coverage on the iPod.

    Then, a friend of mine started urging me to go into the local Apple retail store, and see if they would do anything for me. I resisted at first, saying that I had read clearly in black-and-white pixels what Apple would do for me, and I didn't think the store would do anything special. He then found a few mentions on the Mac web sites of Apple retail stores quiely helping customers with out-of-warranty iPods. So I went in, just to see..

    And help they did! I went in with some pictures I took of the disk check icon, and showed the guy my question-mark-folder icon on the iPod, and he just nodded- "Oh yeah, it's the hard drive." Starts doing the paperwork, checks to see if they have a re-furb in stock, and NO mention of warranty or 250 dollars... needless to say, I was VERY happy about it! (Good thing I hadn't bought another player yet!) I had to wait about a week for them to get one in, which I did with a smile. The replacement looks brand-new, works great: and being a re-furb, I'm confident it will last a bit longer than the first one. It's been pre-disastered, right? My odds are much better now...
    DC "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 3:07 PM)
    " My iPod was a pretty solid performer, particularly if it was stationary. I normally used it in the office, either at my desk or when locked away in the server room for hours at a time. But one day, about five or six months after having purchased the unit, I was taking a stroll to the bank and noticed some odd behaviour. With each step, the volume seemed to change. A quick examination revealed that there was very little resistance on the scroll wheel, and as a result every jounce would cause it to spin.

    One day, while hanging out at a local Apple retail store, I asked one of the geniuses about this problem, specifically mentioning that this unit was purchased about six weeks after introduction and thus out of warranty. He said that this problem was not unusual, and that Apple was rather lenient regarding warranty claims on out of warranty units. After a few minutes worth of paperwork, I was given a replacement iPod, complete with the latest firmware update and a new warranty, on an even exchange basis. The new unit is performing just fine, and I couldn't be happier with Apple's handling of the situation, although I do wish that the warranty was longer than 90 days.
    Ryan S. "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 1:56 PM)
    " Hi Mike,
    I had iPod failure 130-140 days out from purchase. Luckily, via the double-your-warranty of Mastercard, I was able to get it fixed by Apple for $7 shipping and handling (MC refunded me the other $249).

    I promptly took the freshly refurbed one to CompUSA and they agreed to sell an extended warranty to me (even though I didn't buy it from them). I believe this is essentially a function of how benevolent the person you get at your individual CompUSA is, however. It's not a general policy, I'd bet...
    PS: Another avenue to persue--if you know it's the HD that died, you might try RMA'ing it to Hitachi [Toshiba-Mike] directly. They need to know the actual SN on the HD though, so you'd have to crack your iPod to find out for sure if this would be feasible option. "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 12:54 PM)
    " Got mine for xmas 2001. First problem encountered was it froze up weird a few times and had to be reset. Minor troubles also trying to update the firmware (random battery flashing icon stuff). Since then its also had a couple of small spills. This has caused problems with disk access. It will freeze on a song and retry a billion times. It would be nice if it would just skip over the bad part like a CD.

    Alas, I constructed an insane hack work around. I cleared off the entire drive and filled it with 5MB files that were named 1-1000 or something close to that. I then did a 'time cat filename' command on each file name. Any file that took in excess of a couple seconds I moved to a folder called ".bad_sectors".

    This cleared up all of the freezing problems I had at the sacrifice of a couple hundred megs of space. This was several months ago. Its used daily by my gf at work.

    If anyone knows a better way to force a large number of bad sectors out of the fat table, let me know. I tried a ton of disk utilities at the time, but they wouldn’t access it. I just got the newest Norton for os x (free from being one of the first to crash it hehe) and might give that a try later.
    Jacob Riskin
    http://www.hybit.com "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 12:47 PM)
    " I have had my iPod since December and it has worked fine under moderate use. It did freeze once, but that was fixed by doing a reset. The most serious issue I had was when the screen suddenly wasn't working but I could hear the clicks and could still hear music. Again, a reset solved that problem. The only other issue is that the battery life sometimes is not that great (around 4-5 hours), but I've read that can sometimes happen in cold weather.
    leroy "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 12:46 PM)
    " I have had my IPOD for 4 months and have had no problems. It is funny, if you go to apple to buy a refurb it states that all apple refurb items come with a one year warranty, so if I were going to buy one id buy it used... BUT PRINT THE PAGE THAT SAYS THAT, otherwise down the road apple may say it never said that.
    Adam M.

    * Quality Products/Great Prices
    * Stringent Refurbishment Process prior to Sale
    * Covered by Apple's One-Year Limited Warranty
    * AppleCare Protection Plan can be purchased
    * Supplies limited. For latest availability, call 1-800-MY-APPLE (692-7753). "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 12:29 PM)
    " I've had my iPod since early December, and I use it daily in my office from 4 to 8 hours/day. It's almost always plugged into the power adapter. I count on the iPod to help keep me sane at work.
    Other than one freeze, which was easily fixed by doing a reset, it has been rock solid.
    -- Chuck "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 12:28 PM)
    " I bought my wife the 5GB iPod in Nov. 2001 and it's still working great. No problems whatsoever...It's completely full. It sits in a neopreme case and, like all of our other Apple products, handled gingerly and never abused, dropped, or sitting in a hot car.
    8 Months and everything works great.
    Lee "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 12:23 PM)
    " Had mine for about 8 months now, no real problems that a hardware and/or firewire reset would not fix.
    Keith "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 12:20 PM)
    " I bought a 5gb iPod for my girlfriend for christmas 2001 and it has run rock soild since. She's dropped it at least 20 times from about 2.5 to 3 feet off the ground. It really scratched up, but plays everytime. If she uses it in cold weather it will sometimes run out of battries much faster then advertised, but that is her only complaint.
    --Charlie "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 12:12 PM)
    " please keep my name out of this.
    I have had an iPod since a couple weeks after its introduction. I take it with me everywhere, and if I leave it at home, I regret it most of the time. It is a wonderful device. I have taken it to the beach, to demolition sites, ski resorts, airplanes, boats, cars, and its always in my pocket while I'm street skating in Richmond, VA. I have fallen on it, dropped it, sat on it, etc. Works great! The wheel is a bit loose which can be taken care of with grease I hear... The headphone jack is plastic and a bad idea in my opinion because 1/3 of the female connector broke, but still works great. Yay iPod!
    [name withheld by request] "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 12:06 PM)
    " I just thought I would comment on the iPod reliability issue. I have owned my beloved iPod since January of 2002. I purchased it to replace a Rio Volt CD/MP3 player that failed after about 6 months of constant use. (Purchased from the Apple Online Store.) I use my iPod everyday for anywhere from 4-5 hours to as long as the battery will last. (I have even managed to get up to 12 hours of usage since the 1.1 update)

    I record a radio program digitally on an 8600, set up at a distant location that records a week worth of shows automatically. They do not broadcast the show where I live, so I constructed this set up so I could record the program. The shows last as long as 5 hours every day, (Howard Stern) I then edit out the commercials, (using Quicktime Pro 5) then convert the files over to MP3's using iTunes. (converted to 80kps, Mono files. It is after all primarily talk, so superb sound quality is not critical. I do this so I can store an entire week of files on one CD, and the sound quality is more than adequate. The 80kps bit rate might have something to do with longer battery life I have sometimes observed.)

    I am a carpenter by trade, and use my iPod everyday while working, typically with the iPod in the front pocket of my jeans or a shirt pocket. I do not own or use a case. My iPod receives a fair amount of abuse, and I have not had any problems with it since the day I have owned it, except for some minor problems before the 1.1 update. These problems stemmed from the file size of my MP3 files, which can be as large as 40 MB. Before the update the iPod would "clip" off the end of large files, and did not recognize the correct recorded length. The last 2-5 minutes were often impossible to play. This was fixed after the 1.1 update, and I have had no further problems playing files. I have had some minor problems with the battery, but I think this was due to cold temperatures. I have gone from using it in a warm building, then going out into the cold and having the battery die. ( I live in Michigan) I solved this problem by making sure it never got exposed to the cold after being used in a warm place. I have never really had any other problems.

    Personally I would love to have a spare battery so one could charge while using the other, and I would have a spare battery when one goes dead. But I also understand that very few people would use one as much as I do.

    I should also note that my iPod gets erased every week and is used as a 5gig hard drive. Once a week when I go get my raw recorded files, rather than edit and convert the files at the location of my "recording" computer. (These files are 845MB a day for five days, and editing and conversion takes as long as 5 hours) I erase the iPod and transfer the "raw" files onto the iPod using it as a hard drive. (approx. 4.3 Gigs) I then put these files onto a "Pismo" for editing and conversion. Once edited and converted the files are then updated to the iPod, using it again as an MP3 player.

    The iPod has made things far more simpler for me. Before it came along it took me far more effort to accomplish what I do with it, and it has saved me huge amounts of time, and is an awesome design. It is one of the greatest things I have ever owned, and worth every penny in my opinion. I hope it continues to work, but even if it failed today I would feel like I have received my moneys worth, and I would buy one again. Mine has worked perfectly and as advertised.
    Cornelius "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 11:53 AM)
    " I got my iPod in late November and have used it nearly everyday since. It goes to work with me, it rides in the car, it goes on walks with me and the dog. It hasn't failed yet.
    david "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 11:43 AM)
    " My buddy here at the office had his iPod stop working at about 100 days after he bought it from an Apple store. He called Apple and initially they wanted $260.00 to fix it. He complained and stayed on the phone for an hour and one half talking to different people and finally got them to agree to replace it for free. They mailed him a box to return his iPod in and said they would send him a new one once they received the old one. Complain loudly and you will get a new one!
    Lonnie Robinson "

If there's an Apple retail store nearby - also try taking it in and talking to them (worked for several readers to get a replacement -but maybe they were just "lucky").

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 11:14 AM)
    " Hi Mike,
    I first got my iPod when it first came out. It was dead after a couple of weeks of used. I sent it to Apple not once but twice. The second time, Apple replace it with a totally new iPod and I've never been this happy. Until my partner decided that he wants me to use it in our restaurant as the music player.

    Now the iPod is connected to the electric outlet and playing its merry music 12 to 14 hours a day in our restaurant. I put all the songs that are suitable for fine dining under "dining music" playlist and the employees only have to touch it twice; once to turn them on and once to turn it off. :)
    jeff "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 11:03 AM)
    " I bought my iPod in late January 2002 and have had no serious problems with it so far. Occasionally, it will fail to turn on, but holding all five buttons for a few seconds starts it up again. The battery works fine and has shown none of the problems others have reported. However, I only charge it with the A/C charger, and I really never let the battery fall below a half a charge- which usually gives me a good 5 hours of playing time, more than enough for my daily routine.
    Also, when I do charge it, I am careful not to leave it plugged in for more than 3 hours. I don't know if any of these things have anything to do with the reason mine has worked so well, but I have heard others saying that leaving it charging overnight or draining the battery to near zero can affect how well it works. If any of this is true, then for most people the damage is already done, but it could still be of use for people who will be buying an iPod in the near future.
    George Choike "

I don't think lithium batteries have the same requirements/issues that nicads had (as far as overcharging, not getting a memory, etc.)

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 11:01 AM)
    " After 4 1/2 months of use.. the spinner (The round menu navigation piece) has become so loose that, moving the iPod very fast in a side to side direction will make the spinner move.. and thus adjust the volume if currently have a song playing.... My solution has been.. after making any menu selections ... locking the input.
    Brian "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 11:01 AM)
    " Mike,
    How timely! Just days after I killed my iPod's hard drive you ask for input.
    Mine was a early (October) unit that worked wonderfully. It was my system drive for telecommuting for two months, later I used it as a "User" drive in OS X; I used Net Info Manager and designated it as my user "Home" directory.

    Last week miPod sounded like an 80 year old quarterback's knees after a few month of being logged on as the home drive overnight. I knew the day would come and was impressed it held on so long.
    Now, if only I could find a 10 gig replacement card ;-).
    Phil Sandiford "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:56 AM)
    " nothing but reliable. i've had it crash maybe a handful of times, but nothing a reset didn't cure. i use it 5 days a week, often running the battery out in a single day.
    Daniel P. "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:55 AM)
    " Mike,
    Funny you should post this today...My 10 GB iPod is dead after about 3 months of use. Only 5 days left on the warranty.

    I used it last Thursday and it was fine. It was charging all weekend and this morning it would not turn on. I opened it up and unplugged the battery. I got a low battery warning...
    Sounds like a batch of bad batteries may have been used.
    As always, thanks for the great site. :-)
    Louis LaRegina
    Quality Engineering "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:48 AM)
    " My iPod arrived the day they were released and I have been using it ever since.

    My use includes about 5 or 6 hours of daytime listening while at work and about 5 hours while at the gym each week.

    I haven't had a single failure or problem with my iPod. And actually, I've only had to reset it once when it "crashed". I've kept it up to date with all the firmware updates (complete restore each time, not just an update).
    No problems here!
    - Blake "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:38 AM)
    " Very reliable. I have had it since their release. I work for Texas Instruments and we disassembled it for some testing of the Portal Player chips, reassembled it and have used it extensively in plane trips, car, and office. Never had an issue.

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:37 AM)
    " My iPod was purchased just before Christmas, and hasn't given me a bit of trouble. My average usage is 1-4hrs of use a day. Battery life is still quite good also.
    Just thought I'd toss my .02
    P. Monta "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:35 AM)
    " Mine has had no problems at all...
    Have had it since November when they were first released...
    Use it every day at work for 8 hours straight a day and charge it every night. Also use it when I go blading and long company trips
    Dan "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:35 AM)
    " Ordered mine the day it was announced. I use it at least 5 hours per day, every day. No problems at all, still cranking!
    Hunter H."

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:34 AM)
    " I have a 5 and a 10 gig iPod. I used the 5 regularly for about 4 months without a problem. I have since switched over to the 10 and have had no trouble there either. I have always used a case to protect them and treat them like I would any other portable HD. I have seen a lot of folks use their iPod like it was a flash based player or a compact disc player. I think that is a big mistake, it is after all only a augmented hard drive. (I do have to admit, I haven't seen any of these 3 other iPod owners have serious problems though.)
    I do use Disk Warrior for regular maintenance, it has found minor problems before they showed up as performance issues. This is a good idea, especially if you find yourself tempted to use any of the hack software to move music on and off the iPod outside of iTunes and Apple's guidlines.
    AA "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:32 AM)
    " Hi,
    Thought I would mention that we have 4 ipods in our office, three of which are between 5-6 months old. As far as I'm aware they have been pretty reliable.

    I've had mine for over 6 months now and apart from one instance when it appeared to discharge itself or maybe didn't charge at all, I've had no problems at all. One problem we have noted though, was that the plastic sheathing on the headphone cables has broken in several places, this has happened with two of our ipods.
    Mark Steer. "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:28 AM)
    " 100% Reliability after a little over 6 months of heavy use as music player and portable hard drive
    Jeremy "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:23 AM)
    " I have had mine since March and it is just fine. I find, though, if I don't use it regularly, the battery dies fairly quickly (although that may just be a perception as time flies between uses these days).
    But it is still alive.
    BB "

    " "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:22 AM)
    " I've had my 5GB iPod since early February and haven't experienced any problems whatsoever. I use it daily, and in addition to an mp3 player I use it as boot disk, with an install of OS X with all my apps, I use it to boot the dual 1ghz G4's in my school's labs to do my work. Four months so far, and no problems at all. Knock on wood ;-)
    michael "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:12 AM)
    " Bought my iPod in February.
    It had some troubles the first month with 'going dead' and not coming back until it had been charged overnight and then reset.
    It hasn't done this since March and has worked great, although I'm getting alittle suspicious that the batter life is getting shorter.
    I bought the CompUSA extenstion.
    Robb "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:09 AM)
    " Hi,
    I've had my 5GB iPod since January (bought from the Irish AppleStore), and have had no major problems with it. I use it every day for approximately 2 hours (a mixture of walking and on board bouncy Dublin busses), and once every two weeks for two 5 hour train journeys, so it gets a fair bit of use. It's locked up on me twice, but holding play and menu buttons sorted that out.
    Peter "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:05 AM)
    " I have had an iPod since December 2001. My main problem is unpredictable freezes. Typically is I insert my headphones into the iPod when it is off. Something with that maneiver turns it on and then freezes it. It stays frozen, unable to respond to a 'force reboot' or response to the firewire cable being plugged in. After 12 hours or so (I usually just leave it with the headphones plugged in), it will respond after I plug it into my PowerMac's firewire port. Odd behavior. I have the latest drivers as well.
    This behavior has happened a half-dozen or so times. I have not had it happen recently. I am not sure whether that is b/c I dont plug the headphones in until after it is playing or not... Interested to hear your responses.
    -Bill "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:51 AM)
    " Hi Mike - I've been running my iPod since 12/25/01 - zero problems. Average use is 6-8 hours everyday during the work week, and 1-2 hours on the weekend when having to do the dreaded yard work. I have over 900 songs, and have never had a skip, hiccup or some type of failure.
    I just hope posting this doesn't produce any voodoo!
    Pat Holcombe "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:50 AM)
    " Just an FYI, a friend of mine bought an extended warranty through www.vikingwarranty.com 80 days AFTER he bought his iPod. In order to purchase a warranty with them, you must still be under the manufacturers warranty. I'm not sure how much it was, but is somewhere around $40 for 2 years.
    - Matt "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:47 AM)
    " My 10GB iPod is still working flawlessly. I use it almost every day to and from work.
    Dave "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:46 AM)
    " No problems whatsoever here. Bought my iPod on Nov. 11, been using it in my truck / pocket every day since. Yeah, it's got tons of scratches on both sides, but that's ok. The spin-wheel is a little loose (tends to go one past the song I'm wanting), but again it's acceptable. Also, battery will die if I leave the iPod in my truck overnight when it's freezing inside. Summer's no problem though.
    -Mason Brown "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:45 AM)
    " Hi Mike,
    I have had my iPod since the beginning of March, and it has been running flawlessly ever since. I take it everywhere with me, and it has survived various drops, and even a car crash without many scratches. If you're looking to buy one, go ahead, its definitely worth the money.
    Farhad Pocha "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:40 AM)
    " I've got 2 iPods, I use one and my 12 year old son uses the other. Neither have given us any problems. I use mine as a mix of portable music device and portable hard drive whereas my son uses his soley as a music player. We're very, very happy with the performance and reliability of our iPods.
    Paul "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 10:18 AM)
    "Hi Mike,
    I read your request for iPod failure [reports on long term reliability, not just failures since I want to see what the overall % of problem reports is.-Mike] info.
    The iPod is great, but also very expensive, and much research was necessary prior to purchase.
    After reading about the problems some have experienced, and taking into account the abysmal warranty offered by Apple (90 days! Who are they kidding?), I decided to go to CompUSA in Burbank, CA and purchase an extended 2-year warranty. I was told by the clueless clerk that CompUSA does not and will not sell extended warranties for items not purchased from them. Hmmm... I said I've heard of it happening, and available. She claimed they have never done so, and will not (I gotta remember basic rules of business - the Clerk is a Jerk, talk to someone in charge next time).
    [As I suspected, it seems policies can vary by store-Mike]

    Ultimately, I went back to the original vendor, MacWarehouse, and purchased one for about $70. However, it's still cheaper than the $250 or so Apple wants to give you a refurbished unit after the 90 days... And given the reputation of these little beauties to stop working for seemingly no reason, it is peace of mind, too. It's too late for me, but if someone could get an official response from CompUSA it might help others.
    Just my .02
    [Xlr8YourMac Reader]
    (name withheld by request) "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:40 AM)
    " Mike,
    I purchased an iPOD right around Thanksgiving and have used it a fair amount as I travelled from Austin to Alaska twice, Austin to San Francisco twice, Austin to Orlando, as well as a "world tour" including Tokyo, Taipei, Beijing, Bangalore, and Frankfurt. My iPOD has worked great, but I did run the battery too low one time and had to do a reset - no data loss. All of this use relegates to about an hour a day over 7 months so perhaps other users have used their iPODs more extensively.
    If you have any questions or comments please let me know - thanks,
    Wayne Johnnie "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:38 AM)
    "Well, My iPod has been fairly reliable. By that I mean it still functions, but there are some problems that I haven't looked into yet.

    First and most annoying is its discharge rate when not in use. I believe Apple says that the battery should slowly drain over the course of one month while off. In my experience, the battery only lasts about a week when the iPod has been left off.

    Second, is the playback level and sound quality. At some point after my 90 day warranty expired the sound lvl and quality of playback in the supplied ear buds dropped. Now I have to crank the volume almost all the way up to hear at normal levels and the highs and lows are very muted. I suspect either bad headphones or a short somewhere in the playback circuitry/1/8 inch plug.
    Other than that, the iPod is still chugging away fine.
    Scott "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:38 AM)
    " Hi Mike,
    I've had my 5GB iPod for about 4 months and have had no problems so far (knock on wood), with moderate use.

    I was able to buy a CompUSA 2 year extended warranty for $29.95, it was Classified as an external hardrive warranty. If you bought your iPod elsewhere then it's $29.95 for a 1 year warranty.
    Thanks for the great site!
    Andy S.D. "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:35 AM)
    " I've had my iPod since December 13 of last year. I have operated this machine for at least 20 minutes every single day, usually for a lot longer. I update playlists and add/delete songs constantly. I worn it while jogging. If I can find a way to convert audiobooks to MP3, I might never turn it off again. Although I've read horror stories about failures, mine has (literally) not skipped a beat during that time, although I have chipped the sharp edges in a number of places from running into various objects with it attached to my belt.

    To be safe, I purchased the CompUSA TAP (technical assurance plan) replacement guarantee. It costs $30 and applies to external storage devices, even if you didn't purchase it from them. Its best to have the part number for the TAP ready in advance, as some stores are a little confused as to which TAP to sell. ( Product #277449 )

    If you do a forum search on the sites listed above, you will find numerous discussions about the CompUSA TAPs. Apparently, they expire after the first use, so the $30 is like a one time 'do-over' if you iPod fails. Just take it to CompUSA and they will replace with same model.
    The sites listed above have a wealth of information about the iPod in general.
    If you have any other questions, let me know.
    Ray Boehmer
    Marketing Communications
    Multimedia and Graphics "

(I didn't see any sites listed in the email - but guess he was referring to the various ipod specific web sites on the net.)

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:21 AM)
    "Dear XLR8YourMac,
    I am a 5GB iPod owner, and have owned it for three and a half months. I haven't had a single problem with it. It is very reliable, if you remember not to leave it on so the battery runs out. I don't know how common the failures are, but I can assure you that I have not yet experienced one, and am quite delighted with the little thing. I have over 200 songs on it, and it still has 3.9GB available. My only complaint with the iPod is that it is advertised as 5GB, but after the formatting, it is only 4.6GB. (I'll live) If enough people have problems, I suggest petitioning apple for a long warranty. They're good guys, just get a couple thousand signatures.
    Have a nice day, and good luck to all with the failures,
    Sam Dweck "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:16 AM)
    "Have had my iPod running almost daily since early December. The only problem I've encountered was when I tried to update to 1.1 and it locked up. Called Apple, sent it in, they reset it and sent it right back. I also bought the CompUSA extended warranty for $30 after I got the iPod. The iPod was a gift, but originally purchased from MacConnection and as far as I know, CompUSA will happily sell you the extended warranty even though the iPod was not originally purchased at their stores.
    Cal "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:16 AM)
    "Well, I have one of the very first iPods shipped out (as I developed a carrying case fir the iPod with it :>) ) and mine has been getting daily use for the last month or so since installation in my car. I have experienced one "dead iPod" scenario with it, and that was rectified by disconnecting the battery, letting the unit sit for a few minutes, then plugging it back in. This process is by no means difficult, but you do have to know how to get into the iPod to do that.

    Other than that, I only wish there was an audio connector setting for line out. It's about the only thing I really miss.
    Jamie Dresser
    Product Manager & New Product Development
    Other World Computing, Inc. "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:14 AM)
    "I use my iPod several times a week and have dropped it twice. I got it for Xmas. The only complaint is that the battery does not go the advertised length of time. It also gets very warm when charging and I don't know if that is normal.
    Craig "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:11 AM)
    " Ięve had my ipod since ummm.. Fall 2001 and I have droped it 4 times from about 1 meter, twice has the dial and buttons splitted (on impact) from the device!, but its still work like magic, although the battery life seems to go down a bit (same as with celluar phones)
    tobias tornblom, technical support

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:10 AM)
    "I bought my iPod the day it was available (Nov 10, 2001). I use it every day and it still functions perfectly.
    Leif "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 9:07 AM)
    "Hi Mike,
    I bought my 5GB iPod the day they came out and I've had no problems so far. I use it nearly everyday at work and jog with it regularly.

    My only complaint is not having an upgrade path to the 10GB model (short of selling mine and buying a new 10GB) since I only have 40MB of HD space left! It would have been nice if Apple had some kind of trade-in program where you could upgrade the hard drive for $100-$150 or so.
    -Mike Smutko "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:57 AM)
    " Mike -
    I purchased my iPod in January 2002, use it almost everyday, and have had absolutely no problems with it.

    I bought it at CompUSA in order to get the $30 warranty. It is actually a hard drive warranty, which apparently is what CompUSA classifies the iPod and other disk-based MP3 players as, but it covers the entire product, not just the drive itself.

    I asked them before I made the purchase if I could buy the iPod elsewhere and then buy the warranty from them and they told me NO, I had to purchase the iPod at the SAME STORE that I purchase the warranty from, although I had 30 days to decide.
    Hope this helps!
    Duane Smith
    Marketing Resources "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:52 AM)
    " Hi Mike,
    I have my iPod since last November or december. My brother have one too. So far it's really reliable except some software problem with OS before 1.1 (no problem since this upgrade).

    So far my iPod fell in ground twice and except some scratch i have no problems (anyway i decided to buy an xtrememac case to protect it after i drop it a second time in the street). I use it everytime and use it also when doing sport.

    My brothers iPod fell in water and guess what ... After opening it, unplugging the battery it still work perfectly. I guess he was lucky this day!
    Well seems the iPod passed our family test!
    Yann "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:42 AM)
    " I've had mine since before they went public (I work for Apple). I haven't had a speck of trouble with it. It has always been reliable and performed as advertised. I work as a Mac Genius and have seen many, many iPods in all sorts of states. However, the most common issue is simply the user not knowing how to troubleshoot the product and/or not researching Apple's kBase for help.
    I heartily agree with you about forum posters. Negative posts outweigh positive ones 10 to 1 and give a skewed product picture. I can't count how many times I've listened to someone say, " I read on so and so forum that (insert product name here) is (insert negative comment here)."
    Donna Armsworthy
    Isaac Newton understood the impact of the Apple. "

(I had commented that like anything, you're 10x more likely to hear problem reports than those with no problems. That is true of anything, cars, computers, companies, etc. However that's still little consolation when a failure happens to you, esp. just outside a very short warranty period.)

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:39 AM)
    " Six people in my office have had iPods since November/December and all have worked since without any major problems. The exception being one person had to reset theirs to the factory settings one or twice. Two people have also bought the CompUSA extended warranties ($30) even though they didn't buy their iPods from CompUSA. Supposedly you are suppose to by the extended warranty during the 90 warranty period but one person bought it afterwards.
    Christian "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:30 AM)
    " I purchased mine back on December 27, and it's worked flawlessly since. No loose buttons, wheels, etc. no strange behavior, I charge it once a week, it never really gets below 2 bars on the battery indicator, and I keep it in It's groove jacket 24/7.
    Geoffrey M. "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:29 AM)
    " I bought my iPod when Apple first came out with them. I bought my iPod from PCConnection. I too was concerned about the short 90 day warranty. Fortunately, I was able to purchase a 2-year extended warranty from CompUSA for $30.

    I have not needed the warranty yet though, as my iPod has worked reliably.
    Joel Stewart "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:28 AM)
    "I haven't had any problems with mine at all I bought it on or about 1-12-02 (when I started MP3ing my CD's into iTunes so I could use the iPod when it got to my house). Thanks for the great site. If you have any specific questions or interests please let me know.
    Scott T. "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:25 AM)
    " Hi Mike,
    Thanks to my loving girlfriend, I've had a 5G iPod since December. She told me that she ordered it shortly after the first announcement, but it was wrapped for the holidays in the interim. I'm currently on v1.1 and it's going strong. It's had a few hiccups along the way, but nothing catastrophic. The three worth noting are:

    (1) In earlier firmware revs I used to have problems with the iPod not responding to input -- it just sorta froze. A soft reset (menu + play for several seconds) took care of it. Not much more than a minor annoyance.

    (2) One time the whole box just lost its index. All of the mp3s were there, but iTunes was convinced it was a brand new iPod. I used the restore tool (comes with the firmware updater, I think) and restored it to factory condition and just resync'd my collection (note that I could have recovered the tracks and rebuilt the library). Again: annoying, but not catastrophic.

    (3) This one I'm not too sure about. I'm sort of bad to my iPod. I keep it in my front pocket (no case) just about every day. A few weeks ago (mid to late May), I noticed that the scroll wheel was having problems tracking... It would sort of "slip" and not register a movement on the display. However, after a recharge or two, it seems to be ok. I haven't had that problem in a few weeks, but I never really resolved what happened. I'd be very interested to hear if any of your other readers have had similar experiences.

    Bottom line: All in all it's a great device and I'd have no problems recommending it to folks. I use it almost daily... Usually in the car (but I have a pretty short commute) and often at the office (maybe 3 days per week)... However, some sort of case is probably advisable... the screen cover is getting pretty foggy on mine from little scratches and such.
    Thanks for a great community site,
    p.s. WRT the CompUSA warranty... I found that the warranty cost changed based on location. I was quoted $50. The people in the store definitely gave off the we're-making-this-up-as-we-go vibe, so I didn't have a lot of faith that I'd be able to get anywhere with, "but I heard it was $30"... ;-)
    I forgot to mention that my iPod was purchased mail-order, so I fall into the CompUSA-offered-to-sell-me-a-warranty-without-purchase catagory. :-) "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:27 AM)
    " I received a 5GB iPod in January as a birthday present and it's worked without a hitch since.
    Best regards,
    Mike Cashwell "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:20 AM)
    " Mike,
    I can't personally comment on iPod reliability since I have had my 10giger for less than a month. However, CompUSA will sell you an extended warranty for $28.00. The warranty, barring abuse, is for total replacement and I think its a good deal. You don't need to buy the iPod at CompUSA, just a serial number and you need to bring the iPod to show that it works. In my case they did not even check...
    Alric "

(Check with your local CompUSA stores - since prices/policies may vary.)

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:11 AM)
    " Mike I asked on this [extended warranty] the other day at my Omaha CompUSA and they said yes they will warranty it even if you bought it somewhere else. It runs $25-30 for the iPod
    frank "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:06 AM)
    " I got my iPod for Christmas and it has been absolutely flawless. My wife bought the extended warranty from CompUsa when she bought it and I hold it close after hearing of many other failures.
    Robert Meadors "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:05 AM)
    " I've had an iPod since they came out (literally a few days after they were announced) and have had zero problems. Once... and I stress this ONCE... I had to do a system reset on the iPod itself, which does not erase anything on the unit. This thing has been great; I can't even count the number of times it has saved me by being my Norton boot disc, or statup disc, emergency file transfer/backup etc. I still give it 5 out of 5 stars. To me it's like a freakin' Artoo unit or something.
    Daran "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 8:03 AM)
    " Hello,
    I received an iPod last Christmas and so far the only problem I experienced was updating the iPod software for the first time. It froze up like it did to other people's iPods, but I just did a forced restart and was able to update just fine. The iPod 1.1 software updated without a hitch.

    Nothing has gone wrong with the hardware itself, though. I was also able to purchase the 2-year warranty from CompUSA as soon as I heard about it. They didn't give me any problems purchasing it, even though I didn't buy it myself and didn't have the receipt. They just looked it over to make sure it wasn't broken already, took down the serial number and told me that I just couldn't try to use the warranty in the first 30 days after purchasing it. I guess that was to protect them from false claims or what-not but it was a good deal so I didn't complain.
    -Chris Szewczyk "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 7:16 AM)
    "Hey Mike;
    Yes - I am an owner of one of the first shipments of iPod's. I bought mine the minute they were announced and tracked it across Alaska, I believe, during shipment from the far east.

    I have been running my iPod several tiems a week at work, for several hours at a stretch - on business trips too. All has been well. I only had one 'hiccup' awhile ago; my iPod wouldn't wake up by pressing any of the 'on' keys. After a little bit of frantic searching, I stumbled across a thread at macintouch.com about a way to force wake up an iPod by pressing all four buttons simultaneously. This worked like a charm and I've had no problems since. I was very relieved that this worked for I saw the only alternative was to open the iPod up, disconnect and then reconnect the battery. That didn't sound appealing to me as the iPod doesn't even give the slightest hint of wanting to be opened by any user.
    Hope this helps your survey.
    p.s. I also have not updated to the latest and greatest iPod update - 1.1, I believe. Sheer laziness is the reason for that not to happen yet...
    David Copeland Senior Industrial Designer "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 7:11 AM)
    " I've had no problems with my iPod while I've owned it, and I have not done anything special (I don't babysit the battery charging, for example. I let it go overnight.)
    As far as I know, my older brother (who has a 10GB iPod) has also not had any problems.
    Abe J "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 7:07 AM)
    " Hi Mike,
    My iPod has been reliable in the 6 months or so I have owned it. It travels with me round Europe through x-ray machines, even survives being stuck in the aircraft hold on occasion. The only protection it has been allowed is a freebie 'Virgin Atlantic' velcro camera case, which seems to do the job admirably. I have downloaded 10 CD's of a French Language course (Michelle Thomas) which allows me to learn French as I travel!

    The only thing I think I should mention is that I used to charge it via the firewire bus on my old G4 AGP tower. Once, this resulted in the iPod case becoming really, really hot. I am not sure if it was due to the firewire supply voltage being too high, or something in the iPOD. Anyway, now I only use my iMac2 or the mains adapter to charge it and haven't seen this issue reoccur.

    Actually, there is one more thing: I would have preferred a slightly better quality screen, the viewing angle and quality of the LCD is not quite good enough in my opinion. Overall though, I have to say I am very satisfied.
    Thanks for a great site!
    Charlie Hampson"

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 7:05 AM)
    " hi Mike,
    I've had an iPod since December and it works great! I love the thing and use it several times a week as a music player and every day as a portable hard drive. I have had zero problems with it, and I have not treated it as a fragile item. Once when the battery died it appeared to hang up (display froze, no input), but as soon as I got home and plugged it into my powerbook it came back to life (this was before the first iPod update came out).
    Mike Caplinger
    System Administrator
    Dept of Physics and Astronomy "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 7:02 AM)
    " Hey Mike,
    My first iPod was purchased from the Wiz here in NYC. I got an extended warranty at the time, which is against my nature, but the iPod warranty is very limited and the extended warranty lasts 2 years I believe. And according to the Wiz it supposedly covers stupid things like dropping it. So for $30 I got it. My iPod failed after 2 days and I promptly took it back for a replacement. After a week or so the Wiz was having a sale of some kind and they were offering some percentage off the iPod and most everything else in the store. I took my receipt in and got them to knock $30 off the original price. So, after it's all said and done I got the extended warranty for free. And judging from my experience with my first iPod I may need it. Take care!
    Matt "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 6:57 AM)
    " Mike-
    I bought an iPod the day they hit the Apple Stores (11-2001), and it has been used fairly regularly for both music and data. It's still running great. It has even endured being dropped from waist level onto concrete with just a scratch on the back.

    To boot, my wife recently stole it from me for her mass-transit commute to NYC (she is not "dainty" with her electronics) and it has suffered no ill effects.
    Although I wish the warranty were longer, I'm still going strong.
    Mark "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 6:55 AM)
    " Hi Mike,
    I'm using my iPod (5GB) since December 2001. No problems so far. I use the iPod daily during my 45-60 min commute to my work and I simply love it. So far the battery is still fine. I have to recharge ~once a week, depending on the volume settings ;-).
    Karsten "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 6:41 AM)
    " Hi,
    I've had my iPod since December and have used it almost every day since that time. It works flawlessly. I've been very impressed with the quality of this device.
    Mary "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 6:39 AM)
    " Hi Mike,
    FYI I bought my iPod at the UK MacExpo in November 2001, and it has been fine for me so far. I don't use it anything like every day, but it has been used fairly regularly (not more than once or twice a week). Every time I use it now I worry about that Firewire port :-)
    Alex "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 6:35 AM)
    " Hi Mike,
    I bought my iPod at the Applestore in the Netherlands in early December last year. I have been using it almost daily and haven't had any major problems with it. The only problem I have with it is that the “thumb wheel” is not running as smoothly as it did in the beginning, not a big problem.

    Only I should have waited a month, because since January 2002 all iPods have a one-year warranty in the European Union (some kind of new European law).
    Rutger de Jong "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 6:02 AM)
    " Hi Mike:
    My 5GB iPod, which I ordered the day they were announced and arrived they day they were released, has been working flawlessly. I start listening to it at the start of my work day and except for meetings and lunch, doesn't get turned off until I leave. It's recharged every night.
    Haven't dropped it yet - maybe that's it...
    John Cebasek
    PS: It even survived a Canadian winter (in the inside pocket of my winter coat). "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 5:50 AM)
    " Hello Mike,
    Just to say that my iPod, bought the week of the release, is working just as fine as the 1st day.

    It suffered extended use at work, shuttling Terabytes of files between office, home and friends, hours of music and japanese lessons playback and and even a few nasty drops and scratches that gave the shell a nice wrought polish without a single failure.

    The latest revision tends to crash sometimes when I press multiple buttons while fiddling with the controls in my pocket but other than that it's been rock solid and shows no sign of wearing.

    I wish I could say the same of my QuickSilver. That one never managed to output audio properly.
    Ben Mironer "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 5:48 AM)
    " Thought I would share my experience with the iPod and it's reliability. I bought mine back in November (5 GB obviously), and have primarily used it for running which entails usage of at least an hour a day, seven days a week, sometimes I take it to work and use it intermittantly throughout the day (1 time per week, with a total usage time of 5-8 hours in the day), and take it on trips for the airplane/train ride (usage time = ?).

    I haven't had any significant mechanical/hardware problems problems short of the head phones falling apart after a week of use. Not a big deal, but spending $400.00, it was a bit annoying. I do notice a grinding in dial when I turn it. I have tested it and it consistantly 'grinds' when your finger is sweeping the dial through the 12-3 o'clock position. There doesn't seem to be any loss in function yet, but it has a bad feel to it...and if the contacts are wearing away, it will only be a matter of time.

    There have been/are some software related issues.
    (Installed is the software update v1.1)
    1.) On occasion when I hit the jog button to the next song it locks up for minutes and I eventually have to do a manual reboot.
    2.) I have some songs that are deselected in iTunes, but the iPod insists on playing them.
    3.) Battery level indicator. When my indicator is going from 2 bars to 1 it shuts off and states that there is insufficient battery. It seems to me that the instant it switches with 1 bar left there should be 25% remaining power...not 0%.
    -Neil "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 5:02 AM)
    " Hi,
    I have had my iPod for just over 5 months now, and I use it quit heavily for both music and data transfer between computers. It is almost always either plugged into a machine or on the road, it has been dropped onto various surfaces a few times and is still working just fine.

    Both back and front have quite a few scratches but the display is still legible.

    Only once the iPod refused to charge after I plugged it into a machine, exactly on the day I read about the possibility of contacts coming loose in the firewire connector. The next day I plugged it in again, and I have had no problems since.

    The iPod is protected under a 2 year warranty which is mandatory for products sold in Germany, so I can't say I worry too much.
    Cheers, Frank "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 4:58 AM)
    " HI Mike,
    I've had a 5 GB iPod from the day of launch here in the UK, which I think was around the beginning of November last year. It gets used virtually every day, including just me listening on my own and DJing, and I've yet to have a serious problem.

    Yes, the battery has gone completely dead a couple of times, but a day's charge and full reset has brought it back to life no problem. I tend to shunt music on and off it at least once a week, so I think I can safely say the drive and Firewire bridge are behaving perfectly.
    Hope this is of use to you.
    Kind regards,
    jof "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 3:53 AM)
    " Hi,
    This isn't really about reliability as such, just to inform you that iPods sold in the UK have a 1 year warranty. They originally came with a 90 day one but had problems with UK trading standards that state that all goods sold in the UK have to be guaranteed for a year and after a few people complained they changed it (and fixed iPods gone wrong for free after 90 days). Seems strange they still have the 90 day thing in the states.
    Woody "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 3:50 AM)
    " Mike,
    6 months of HEAVY iPod use. NO PROBLEMS of any kind.
    Thanks for the site, I don't know what I'd do without you.
    ~derek "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 3:41 AM)
    " Hi Mike!
    No problems what so ever.
    I have been an iPod owner since january, and the only problems I have had so far, is with the earphones (which I don't like, except to find other iPod users!) and an occasional "accumolation" of distortion in the sound quality, wich is cured by resetting the iPod.

    I have also used my iPod, as a start-up drive, with both 9 & 10 installed on it, (but it get VERY HOT, if it's not on a metal surface or similar, in use).

    It is/and has been the coolest Apple thing I have ever owned.
    Kind regards
    Peter Sorum "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 3:22 AM)
    " My father and I bought two iPods the day it was available and they are still working perfectly so no problems here.
    Sharky K. "

    (Monday, June 17, 2002 2:31 AM)
    " Hi,
    I bought my iPod in January. Everything worked fine so far. A few weeks ago, after a regular recharging, the battery capacity seems to be only half of the rated value. The runtime was suddenly approx. 5-6 hours. I charged and decharged it a few times but no improvement. It seems to become better now during the past 3 weeks. I will again do a runtime test in the next months and will probably send it to the Apple service center. Thanks to a new german law, we have 2 years of warranty.
    Sascha Beverungen
    Germany "

    (Sunday, June 16, 2002 4:56 PM)
    " I've had my iPod since December of last year and it has been performing flawlessly since then. I've never had it fail to turn on as some have reported, etc. The only problems I have had seem to have been software related and common to all iPods (such as the battery guage being innacurate) but these have mostly been taken care of with the latest software update. I am quite satisfied. I did buy an extended warranty from the chain where I bought it in Japan since I was a bit worried about Apple's short warranty and the possibility of problems involved with a hard-disk based player, but haven't had to use it yet (fingers crossed).
    Evan E. "

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