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Washington Post Covers iPod Battery Ruckus

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the disposable-world dept.

Media (Apple) 923

An anonymous reader sent in a link to 'Battery and Assault: When His iPod Died, This Music Lover Tackled Apple. Stay Tuned.' in the Washington Post. The article (good reading even if you're familiar with the situation) has Apple reps being rather callous about the issue - I think it's a fairly reasonable assumption that if you spend several hundred dollars on a gizmo, it shouldn't be "disposable". A replacement battery for my cell phone cost $10; one for my cordless phone cost $10; Apple is presumably making a good deal of money on their $99 replacements.

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775286)

fp for lunix fagz. apple=death.

huzzah (-1, Offtopic)

Staos (700036) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775288)

Frist psaat


Failure Guy (627040) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775362)

I wish I could dispose of FAILURES like you!


Re:YOU FAIL IT! (-1)

handybundler (232934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775419)


IPOD for rich poeples anyway ;) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775293)

First Post is an exploding IPOD.

Re:IPOD for rich poeples anyway ;) (-1, Flamebait)

PogieMT (668493) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775303)

God, I am so tired of poeples. Is that the car with the plastic shield around it?

But... (5, Funny)

oGMo (379) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775299)

It's an Apple battery. That's $99 of quality Apple engineering you're paying for.


Apple doesn't make batteries (3, Informative)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775319)

It's not an Apple battery.
It's a battery from a third party manufacturer.
Apple doesn't make batteries.

(PS. Apple has switched to a new battery manufacturer)
(PPS. My old first edition iPod still works perfectly. Most of them do.)

Re:Apple doesn't make batteries (5, Insightful)

Politburo (640618) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775337)

PPPS. Anecdotal evidence doesn't help the people whose batteries HAVE failed.

Re:But... (2, Interesting)

fastidious edward (728351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775343)

Ok, a $99 replacement. But the battery is the first failure. Even were the battery problem solved the HDD (it is an off-the-shelf IDE after all) would fail a little while after the battery (many IDEs fail after 18 months regular use, and an iPOD is regular random access so this is very likely).

So what about a HDD replacement?

Re:But... (2, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775358)

The mean time between failure on most any IDE drive is a lot longer than 18 months. I've got HDs in some of my computers here that are 5+ years old and have never had a hiccup.

What drive brand are you using?

Re:But... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775407)

I have an old old old 40MB IDE that is still running fine, but had a 80GB fail after only 14 months of usage. More modern drives are put under more modern stresses and are manufactured to more "close to the line" standars (i.e., failure inside 12 month warranty is not acceptable, but don't waste engineering making it last forever).

Re:But... (2, Funny)

bunhed (208100) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775503)

Don't kid yourself. A lot of engineering goes into making sure it will fail. If stuff were built to last, it's capitalism that would fail.

Re:But... (2, Interesting)

Urkki (668283) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775420)

That's maybe true for a desktop PC, especially if they are on most of the time (ie few starts and stops).

I've had several laptop drives die on me. I could imagine an iPod drive will have to suffer even more punishment than an average laptop drive.

Re:But... (2, Informative)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775370)

Uhh, it's not an "off the shelf IDE" drive. It is an off the shelf PCMCIA ATA drive. You can buy a replacement- or even an upgrade- at a number of computer stores. I bought one for use in my PDA- cheapest 2 GB in PDA storage you can get, only US$70.

If it's "off the shelf" why are you asking about a replacement?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775433)

Uhh, it can be taken "off the shelf" but still needs to be installed, which on an iPOD, verses normal hardware, is not easy.

Mac zealot troll.

Don't forget the battery is so user friendly.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775413)

as well.. For instance you don't need to edit some strange text file with Vi, you can just plug it in and it all works.

It also tells you in your choosen language if you have managed to insert it incorrectly.

Praise Apple!

Re:But... (2, Interesting)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775440)

Seriously upsetting is the fact that the people on the sales floor at your local electronics superstore can only give 'Apple's Engineering' as the reason for the rediculous mark-ups on accessories.

There is a white colored rca (2 plug for use in all home audio) to iPod (aka 3.5 mm stereo plug) for sale... only $69.99 (Canadian, but still)... while one isle over, there is the same damned thing for $5.99 (still a huge rip off, but at least reasonable). Hell, even the monster cable version of that cable is only $19.95. WTF makes it worth that much money? White plastic that hard to make???

But...The high price of individualism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775479)

Ummm...excuse me. Why are people getting so upset about the price of Apple accesories, but when the subject of the cost of Apple computers comes up. Apple zealots are coming out of the woodwork defending the price. Isn't this all part of the "Apple experience"?

Re:But... (3, Insightful)

Cobralisk (666114) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775455)

Apple generally enjoys positive PR in print media and perky goodwill in the marketplace, especially from younger, hipper demographics trained from birth to shun expensive labels or corporate identity...

This is actually a quote from the article. I guess Apple has nothing to do with expensive branding and corporate identity.

What world am I living on?

Reminds me of Sony (1)

mixmasta (36673) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775513)

They want $99 for another AC adapter for my laptop. Never mind you can get a similar one at Radio Shack for $12 -- sleaze-balls.

Agreed (3, Interesting)

moehoward (668736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775300)

It is a rather lousy design. I have a new 30GB iPod and the battery status and recharge times are just goofy and all over the place. Yes. I have upgraded software.

Just poor design. Nice and shiny on the outside, but terrible engineering elsewhere. And yes. This battery problem is simply terrible, embarassing engineering.

Mr. Jobs' ego is too big to admit to this problem. Anyone who defends Apple in any other regard just has to look at how they handle goofs like this. It says an awful lot about the company.

Re:Agreed (4, Insightful)

PogieMT (668493) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775314)

And it makes you wonder if there won't be a typical Apple result. The company is innovative, no doubt, but always struggles with details. A lower cost alternative with better tech is going to take over this market--and to some extent, already has, no matter how necessary the IPod is to our "yoga tech" culture. Who writes this stuff, anyway?!?

Disagreed (5, Interesting)

PrintError (708568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775395)

I have a 1st gen 10GB that is 2 years old, I beat it, drop it, drain the battery, do 5% charges, 95% charges, it's plugged in 50% of the time, and in use the other 50% of the time. My iPod NEVER sees a day of rest, never leaves my side, and pretty much never is inactive.

It runs my work stereo, my house stereo, and my car stereo. Literally, it's ALWAYS ON.

Last week I turned it on at 9am, and ran it with Sound Check and EQ's turned ON, and it ran until 5:30 where it politely told me it was about to die, then died about 2 minutes later. I'd say 8 1/2 hours is fine out of a 2 year old machine that gets abused as hard as I treat it.

Or should I be a bitch like everyone else and complain because I'm not getting the advertised 10 hours?

Re:Disagreed (2, Insightful)

moehoward (668736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775422)

Having a wide variation in performance (i.e. You vs. me vs. others) is another sign of poor engineering. Actually, it speaks directly to quality.

You may resume your vigorous defense of, um, well, nothing.

Re:Disagreed (2, Interesting)

Urkki (668283) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775458)

  • Having a wide variation in performance (i.e. You vs. me vs. others) is another sign of poor engineering. Actually, it speaks directly to quality.

It's not a sign of poor engineering of the device. Poor production quality yes (either poor parts or poor manufacturing), but poor product engineering no.

Engineer? Who? Me? Well... ;-)

Re:Agreed (3, Interesting)

trippy (94675) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775418)

How is it a lousy design when they call for specifications that another company promises, but does not fulfill? They took measures to fix the problem by switching battery providers.

8 hours of battery life is plenty for me as it charges when i am in my car or docked each night at home.

On your ipod status, i have a 30gb too. Notice that when the hard drive or backlight is on it is reporting how much battery life is left at that current load demand. When those are off, it will have more life. It may seem goofy, but it is accurate.

Re:Agreed (1)

Stween (322349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775510)

Indeed, that makes perfect sense, and there's no other way that's any more accurate of predicting battery life.

Linux reports my remaining battery life on my laptop relative to the amount of power being consumed at the time. If the load seriously drops moments later (possible, if I'm compiling something), the predicted running time left becomes considerably larger.

Ideally, I suppose, all these things should report "best case", "worst case", and a value within those ranges, predicting for current load. These values would have to then be depend ent on the condition of the battery, and would probably have to keep statistical information over time to keep it's upper and lower bounds in check.

Sony laptop batteries (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775301)

Prices for Sony's lapttop batteries are even more obscene. $300 for a new batter??

Re:Sony laptop batteries (1)

Slack3r78 (596506) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775396)

That's not that unusual for laptop batteries. Lithium Ion laptop batteries generally go for anywhere from $150-300, depending on the model.

Re:Sony laptop batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775451)

What about when the hard drives blow up in them? It's not like hard drives are the best quality in the world anymore...and you can be guaranteed that it's going to cost quite a bit more than a new battery.

As a side note, hard drives in consumer electronics seem to be a big pain in the ass. The disc in my ReplayTV fried the other week and Replay wants $200 for a replacement. Needless to say I'm using it as a silver colored doorstop right now. (And no, don't suggest that I grab a drive and reinstall the OS on it...they put the "lifetime" activation code on the drive on the 4000 and won't allow you to activate a unit more than once. Dumb since they key off the MAC address of the unit.

It's all a big money making scheme.

Or you could (4, Informative)

xpurple (1227) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775306)

Or you could just head over to ipodbattery [] and get a replacement battery for half of what apple charges.

Sure you have to install it yourself, but it's not hard at all.

Re:Or you could (0, Insightful)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775315)

And also void your warranty in the process. If I'm going to spend $400+ on an MP3 player (hint: I'm not) I'm going to make damn well sure it lasts me as long as the warranty and/or AppleCare covers.

Re:Or you could (1, Informative)

Mikeytsi (186271) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775341)

Who the hell posted this "insightful"? If you'd read the damn article, you'd know that the reason this is a problem is because the batteries are failing at about 18 months, or 6 months after the Apple warranty expires.

Re:Or you could (3, Informative)

quandrum (652868) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775347)

Except you don't pay for it if your battery goes dead during your warranty period. Mine did. I had to pay $20 for shipping, which still sucks, but was a lot less then the $100 you'll pay for it out of warranty.

Re:Or you could (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775350)

But wouldn't the warranty be over by the time the battery runs out? Also, if you bought the optional applecare, then it covers the replacement of a new battery.

Re:Or you could (4, Interesting)

linuxpng (314861) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775359)

although the battery is covered the length of the warranty. In all fairness I think this is overblown. I have the older 20 gig model and found it rather simple to replace the battery. The hardest part is getting the back case off, but it'd be nearly impossible to break the thing swapping the battery when the case is already off. (as these guys said they did)

I think the big issue here is that apple has met demand and lowered prices on alot of it's hardware. In change, they've started charging for software that they hadn't in the past. I think it's upsetting the core audience into believing they are getting bled. To a certain extent, I feel that way. It ends up being that you don't really *need* to buy any of this stuff.

Re:Or you could (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775361)

By the time you have to upgrade the battery, the warrenty is void anyway.

Re:Or you could (4, Informative)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775379)

If you'd read the article (ha) you'd know that they tried that - see the section "Amateur Neurosurgery" on page 4 of the article. They bought a battery from such a site, took their iPod apart, tried to replace it. The iPod died.

I know you're bound to tell me that they are idiots for breaking their iPod. Personally, I think they're right to direct their anger at a company that [a] Made the battery non-user replaceable, and [b] presumably knew that the batteries could die in about 18 months. If [b] isn't true, then it's just incompetence.

Disclosure: I own an iPod, and it's working ok, but the battery no longer holds its charge for longer than about 3 days, which is kind of annoying, but iPods are so great otherwise I can live with it. I'm not looking forward to my battery finally dying though.

Re:Or you could (2, Interesting)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775530)

Li-Ion battery life depends on so many factors. Charging/discharging cycles, user patters, environmental exposure, etc. Just like all rechargable batteries they *will* die eventually.

The unit comes with a 1 year warranty with option to buy extended warranties. This is what warranties are for. Most batteries will not die after 18 months, most batteries will die in approx 3-5 years.

Many things have internal non-replacable rechargable batteries. Most PDA's for instance.

Pick any two:

1. Thin
2. Replaceable Battery
3. Lots of storage

Re:Or you could (5, Informative)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775435)

or you could read the article which states

"Some of the e-mail the Neistat Brothers received from "iPod's Dirty Secret" came from people who were quick to tell them "that we're [bleep]ing imbeciles, [because] you can buy a battery online and do it yourself," Casey says.

The brothers already tried that.

They Googled around and ordered the battery from a different vendor that came with complicated instructions and "these two plastic gigantic toothpicks," Casey says. It took a while to pry the back cover off the iPod's impenetrable design. Beneath that was "a gummy adhesive" which covered the mini hard drive, "and there were these two very tiny connectors with three prongs," in a work space "about the diameter of a needle."

He felt as if he was performing amateur neurosurgery."

Of course, I can't have any sympathy for the guy for going out and buying another iPod after the incident.

Re:Or you could (2, Insightful)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775439)

He apparently did that []

...broke his ipod, and bought a new one...

What a dumbass. He bought another anyway... An experience like that would force me to look elsewhere. I'm sure apple wishes they had more customers like that guy. Spray paint campaign aside, he bought 2 ipods and will probably never use anything but apple anyway.

Re:Or you could (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775508)

"sure apple wishes they had more customers like that guy."

Um... I am currently on the outside looking in. I don't have an iPod or any Apple stuff. I don't dislike them, I just spend $ elsewhere. But, from the people I know, this is exactly the case. Apple fans are just that... Apple fans. In their eyes, Apple can do no wrong. Yea, probably doesn't apply to the article, but I think it does in general.

Washington Post's slanted slant (1, Interesting)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775310)

I read the Post article this AM, before it hit Slashdot.

Apple's support has a long standing reputation for being friendly and helpful. Everyone knows the products and peripherals are priced higher than PC products - but you shouldn't mind paying for superior design and quality in hardware. Don't compare apples + oranges (compare Mac hardware to standard hardware.)

The Post didn't have to write (or edit) the article to slant against Apple, but they did, based on one or two support conversations.

Re:Washington Post's slanted slant (-1, Troll)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775334)

I read the Post article this AM, before it hit Slashdot.


Re:Washington Post's slanted slant (5, Insightful)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775368)

Perhaps there were more than one or two conversations they learned about through research but didn't report about.

This is slanted *against* Apple as much as most Apple zealots are slanted *for* Apple, and it will all balance out in the end. Too many Applefans are prepared to push their favorite company to everyone, facts/figures be damned, and when something like this comes out, somehow the world is 'against' Apple. It's ridiculous.

And yes, I own a Mac.

Re:Washington Post's slanted slant (1)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775457)


But: the WashPost took an unecessary negative slant toward Apple here.

Note how my original post was modded a Troll.

Hi Michael !!

Re:Washington Post's slanted slant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775372)


Apple products aren't made with sacrificial virgins you know. All hardware is hardware. This just happens to be super premium hardware, you're paying for a flashy box and the warm glow that your box costs more than the next geek.

Re:Washington Post's slanted slant (1, Redundant)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775499)

Apple products aren't made with sacrificial virgins you know
I know, they're made with 4 dollar an hour offshore assembly line labor.

All hardware is hardware.

Quite untrue.

The iPod was both a technical and design triumph in the world of consumer products. The battery that fits in it is part of the grand design, and should not be considered in the same league as the 4-9V converter bricks for example, you get at Radio Shack.

Re:Washington Post's slanted slant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775387)

Please, enough with the "pay for quality" bullshit. As another Apple defender pointed out in a post above, the battery is NOT made by Apple. So, which is it, "It's not Apple's fault," or "It's Apple's fault by superior design?" You can't have it both ways.

Re:Washington Post's slanted slant (3, Interesting)

PhoenixRising (36999) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775389)

I can't quite agree with Apple's support being particularly helpful.

Apple's been making a huge push to get businesses (outside of visual design and their other niche markets) to use their products, and I bought into it and recently purchased a 17" PowerBook G4 laptop to use for my consulting work. Since I purchased it (about four months ago,) it has failed twice, necessitating a mainboard replacement each time. However, Apple has no provision for on-site or even at-the-store replacement of notebook parts, so the machine has to be shipped back to a depot for repairs. This process takes at least five days if everything goes perfectly. Five days without my primary business machine is a lot of money gone, plus delays foisted off onto unhappy clients. When I called Apple, they were unable to amelioriate the situation in any fashion (for instance, by providing me with a notebook to use in the meantime,) nor would they consider replacing the unit, despite two complete failures in two months, and they were quite snippy about it to boot.

If I had purchased from Dell or Sony, I could have had a repaired or new computer in one or two days. At this point, I'm considering the notebook expendable, and if it breaks again, I'm going to purchase one from a company that can provide business-class support.

Re:Washington Post's slanted slant (3, Interesting)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775542)

The fact that Apple doesn't have a good hardware support program comparable to Dell's does not mean that their Support folks aren't helpful.

Of course they're going to be snippy if you demand hardware replacement when they have no such program.

If I had purchased from Dell or Sony..

Dell would have had a person replace your system board the next day if you had bought the extended support program. This is not built into the machine base price with Dell, it's extra (and worth it).

Re:Washington Post's slanted slant (0)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775430)

Everyone knows the products and peripherals are priced higher than PC products - but you shouldn't mind paying for superior design and quality in hardware.

Its a battery! Unless it contains utilizes small person combined with a form of fusion there is little more apple can engineer out of the current lithium-ion technology that hasn't been done before.

Just like my iBook... (2, Troll)

LamerX (164968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775325)

This is exactly what Apple does to all of its customers. My G4 cube had that stupid fracture, and my iBook's power supply connector kept breaking. Apple pretty much told me to fuck off, so I sold all my Apple crap, and switched to the PC. Apple should be called the Impersonal Computer.

Re:Just like my iBook... (2, Funny)

ainsoph (2216) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775364)

ya know its party pooping anti mac losers that keep apple in business. The reality of the world truly is:

Microsoft Market Share: 3%

Apple: 94%

Other: who fuckin cares.

Re:Just like my iBook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775429)

Microsoft Market Share: 3%
Apple: 94%

Are you sure you don't have that backwards?

If you only have one, get a Mac. (1, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775500)

My G4 cube had that stupid fracture

Lamer, I'm not sure what that is, but it sounds like an operator error. Can you be more specific? I'd really like to know what a "stupid fracture" is.

switched to the PC

Hmmm, good quality there. Well, good enough, but have you ever heard of bad capacitors on a Mac? All a google search turned up for me was an air station example where Apple admitted to the problem and replaced the thing out of warranty in less than two days. No PC maker I've heard of was spared the bad capacitor problem and some big dumb ones still get burnt.

That being said, I run crappy x86 hardware myself. If all I was had was one computer, like most normal people who hate computers in general, I'd have a Mac. But I don't, I pull PeeeCeees from the trash because even crappier software made them useless to their owners. Ha ha ha ha. Free software makes them sing again.

Re:If you only have one, get a Mac. (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775541)

The cubes were made out of clear acrylic. The material used wasn't of sufficient quality, and fine cracks began to appear on most of the units.

IPod Tech Support Conversation (5, Funny)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775327)

APPLE: Hello sir, what seems to be the problem?
USER: Ummm.... I can't turn my iPod on anymore.
APPLE: Have you tried using the power button?
USER: Ummm.....
APPLE: Try pushing the little button to turn it on.
USER: Umm.... It doesn't work.
APPLE: Have you tried recharging your iPod?
USER: I want to listen to my music.
APPLE: Well sir, it seems like your battery might be dead. You'll need to buy a replacement for $99.
USER: I got new shoes today.
APPLE: That's nice.

Re:IPod Tech Support Conversation (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775449)

USER: Donkey kong! Yay!

49 + 50 = 99 (3, Insightful)

obiedxss (241764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775328)

Apple is presumably making a good deal of money on their $99 replacements

at least $50, including the service fees. that's how much the battery (sans installation) costs here [] .

It's not supposed to wear out. (4, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775329)

Is it?

I mean, no Apple product could have a defect. Certainly not a predictable one. Certainly not one designed to improve profit margins at initial sale and revenue growth after the warranty period. Not Apple. Not Steve Jobs. Not the Dread Pirate Roberts of Silicon Valley...

In a nutshell. (1, Offtopic)

keplon (690637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775331)

Basically, a group of college students have discovered the short life of IPOD's battery(approx. 200 hrs.) Washington Post [] has done a follow-up to the story, dismissing their false claims & stating (correctly) it is only ~150 hours.

Lithium Ion Dummy! (3, Informative)

agent dero (680753) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775346)

If i'm not mistaken, the iPod batteries are the same as my iBook's. Litium Ion, which needs to be regulated harshly to prevent it from burning up or frying your computer/iPod.

The iBook batteries are expensive too, same concept, they both have built in circuit boards to make sure the batteries or device is not damaged, unlike this guy's cell phone which is much cheaper akaline (?) or something of the same caliber.

Re:Lithium Ion Dummy! (0)

OverclockedMind (730057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775390)

there are LiIon phone batteries about the ize of a quarter for some cell phone models, only 20-30 bucks around here

Re:Lithium Ion Dummy! (2, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775412)

Umm, then why didn't they put this expensive circuitry on the iPod rather than the throw-away battery?

And in spite of any fancy regulation requirements, lithium-ion isn't exactly rocket-science. I doubt the circuitry is that expensive. Design a blob to do it right, and make lots of them...

Ok, not sure what kind of cellphone YOU have (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775527)

But all the ones I've ever owned use either lithium ion or lithium polymer battries. Prior to that, they were nickel metal hydride or nickel cadmium.

Now I just picked up a new battery for my cellphone, a high capacity one since the normal one wasn't as big as I'd like. I decided to buy a genuine Motorola one, rather than a generic, despite them being more expensive. It was $30 all said and done, for the battery and a backplate to accomidate its physically larger size.

Now, given that, I cannot concieve how Apple thinks their battery ought to be $99.

I once wrote a petition draft... (4, Interesting)

Hanno (11981) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775348)

...on how laptop batteries should be standardized [] . It never received any feedback, though, so I didn't start the petition.

But I still wonder why companies still don't come up with a standard form factor. Come on, it's a GOOD thing to have a standard battery form factor. Where is the business sense in keeping a large stock of special-sized batteries for your product that may become useless before you can sell it to your customers?

Re:I once wrote a petition draft... (3, Insightful)

dysprosia (661648) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775424)

Because it takes pricing and control out of the hands of the businesses that depend on their products having batteries. If there's a standard form of battery, then you have interoperability, and you then don't have vendor lock-in, and then the business loses out because the users are buying their batteries from somewhere else...

Re:I once wrote a petition draft... (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775515)

RIGHT !! we should feel sorry for them !! god forbid they should price said batteries so that we dont buy them somewhere else

Re:I once wrote a petition draft... (1)

Hanno (11981) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775519)

This is an argument that could apply to any part of a computer, yet we have standard USB devices that even work across several OS and hardware platforms and these haven't been the doom of the computer industry, either.

Apple, IBM et. al. do not manufacture and sell batteries, they manufacture and sell computers. It is an unnecessary burden for them to sell and stock batteries for their products.

There is little business sense for the vendor in that form of vendor lock-in. The vendor has to stock a large pile of batteries, these will age while waiting to be sold and eventually, he will have lots of batteries to throw away once this battery's particular product isn't on the market anymore.

The vendor has to sell a product he isn't good in and this raises prices, which makes his customers unhappy. The vendor should rather leave selling batteries to those who are good at it - the battery manufacturers.

The consumer electronics gadget market hasn't this kind of vendor lock-in - they use standard AA batteries and the market is still alive "despite" the fact that the businesses do not have "pricing and control" of their products' batteries at their own hands.

Re:I once wrote a petition draft... (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775441)

Many of the cordless phone batteries do seem to be a standard size. It's the connector that they always play with. A generic battery, wire-cutters, and a Weller soldering station fixed that little problem.

bah, humbug (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775504)

Many of the cordless phone batteries do seem to be a standard size. It's the connector that they always play with. A generic battery, wire-cutters, and a Weller soldering station fixed that little problem.

Unfortunately, this is only half the truth. I have a cordless V-tech phone that has a dead battery pack in it. Yes, I could buy pack that fits, and I have plenty of experience soldering replacement connectors. But I've yet to find a replacement battery that costs less than I paid for the entire phone including battery ($9.99 plus tax), and many places want $15 or more for the damn replacement battery. In fact, I replaced the phone with another cordless phone that I got with a battery for less than I could get the batter for. Clearly there's something wrong with an industry that deal with customers this way, but it's common pratice.

Re:I once wrote a petition draft... (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775452)

1. Design a special-size batterie that only works with with you product, and make sure no other standard batterie works with it. 2. Profit!

Comparing battery prices... (4, Insightful)

cjhuitt (466651) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775365)

While a $99 fee for replacing the battery does seem like quite a bit (knock on wood for mine), this isn't quite a fair comparison:

A replacement battery for my cell phone cost $10; one for my cordless phone cost $10;

Both your cell phone battery and your cordless phone battery are, presumably, removable. Now, maybe Apple made a mistake in not making their battery removable (but it sure makes the unit smaller), but regardless, there is a lot more effort involved in replacing the battery for the iPods.

In addition to this, I'd like to know where michael gets his cell-phone batteries; my last replacement would have run me $40 if I hadn't purchased "insurance" when I got the phone that covered dead batteries as well.

no problems here.... (1)

uidzer0dotorg (654931) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775381)

I haven't had any problems with my ipod's battery is this is 1 year aniversary problem or what?

Re:no problems here.... (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775462)

Depends, how long is the warranty?

Lithium Ion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775382)

I'm willing to bet the battery is lithium ion, unlike the $10 batteries you talk about. Lithium ion is really nice in that it gives you a lot of playtime, but they suck in that they start going bad after a year, and new ones cost big money. New lithium ions batteries for laptops are in the $150+ range. Stop your bitching and moaning.

Wish I made batteries (2, Interesting)

utlemming (654269) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775383)

Man, I wish I made batteries. I would make one for the iPod and charge half as much. I think that I could make a fortune.

Re:Wish I made batteries (1, Redundant)

wildchild07770 (571383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775427)

Then Apple would sue you under the DMCA for reverse engineering their battery. Which is of course 10 times more useful and 100 times more trendy than anything a third parter could provide.

Apple Battery Engineers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775402)

We had the lead Apple battery engineer speak at Carnegie Mellon a month or two back and he stated that the charge cycle for their portables totalled out at about 500 charges.

If those guys used their iPod for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, that comes out to about 546 charge cycles in an 18 month period. That also doesn't account for poor battery usage by the user (half charges, etc.)

The guys who use their iPod all day long everyday should expect the batteries to die after a shorter period. If I ran my car 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, and then complained when the engine blew up I'd be laughed at by the dealer.

Dealer: "You put how many miles on it in 18 months?"
Me: "220,000. Why did it die so soon?"
Dealer: "Because you're an idiot."

Re:Apple Battery Engineers (3, Insightful)

Keeper (56691) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775533)

The point isn't that the battery went dead, it's that you couldn't replace the battery.

When was the last time you ran into a dealer that said they wouldn't replace the engine in your car after it blew up?

Bad analogy (1)

iconian (222724) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775409)

From the article:
Anyone who wears disposable contact lenses knows how these things evolve: At first, having lived through the days of crawling on hands and knees in shag carpeting looking for a lost contact lens, you cannot immediately adapt to a future in which we now blissfully wash month-old contact lenses down the drain.
After a while it doesn't seem like such a costly tragedy. People now spend a few hundred dollars every other year or so on disposable lenses, but it took a slight mental shift to get there.
That's bullshit. My disposable contacts does not cost a few hundred dollars every other year. I get my contacts from a local optometrist who charges 50 bucks for a year's prescription. Disposable contacts are no more expensive than glasses if you consider the fact that glasses lens cost more than 100 bucks and many people change their prescription every two years.

fluff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775411)

I got to where the article said "yoga-tech times", and then hit my browser's "back" button.

Egh. Journalists. What a damn joke.

What's wrong with this picture? (4, Insightful)

FCKGW (664530) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775444)

"And soon enough, Casey Neistat went back to the Apple boutique and bought a new iPod for $400, which, he says, 'is totally unfair.' He took it back to the office and showed it to his brother, and they vowed to find a way, Casey says, 'to get back at them.'"

If you want to get back at a company that screwed you over, don't turn around and give them $400.

why battery life is a non-issue for most people (5, Interesting)

Schlemphfer (556732) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775448)

When I first read about iPod's Dirty Secret, it reminded me of the bad old days, when I worked for a PC company that soldered those Dallas clock/battery chips directly onto the motherboard, instead of spending the extra buck to mount them into a socket. There's something about that that turned my stomach; the idea that in five years, this screamingly fast 286 would be landfill material. But thinking more about things, the iPod situation is actually a whole lot different. Let me explain.

I was given an iPod as a gift and I adore it. There's one thing to keep in mind that isn't covered in the Post article, nor in the iPod's Dirty Secret film. As the Post mentioned, the iPod is good for something like 500 charges. Now the thing to keep in mind, is that if you don't listen to tons of music, 500 charges amounts to many, many years of use. A charge lasts me a good six or seven hours, and I doubt if I listen to more than an hour of music a day. So figure one charge a week, or fifty charges a year. So, for somebody like me, 500 charges lasts nearly a decade (assuming the battery doesn't crap out before that due to old age.)

There are two things that separate people like me from the Neistat Bros. First is that they listen to a whole lot more music than I do. Second, it seems like they listen to all of their music on their iPod. By comparison, I listen to most of my music on my stereo, and only put on my iPod for trance and classical stuff, where I prefer headphones. For people like me, who listen to their iPods for less than an hour a day, battery life is a non-issue. In five or ten years, I would hope that it would not be worth my time to replace the battery. At that time, I'd be more than happy to plunk down, say, $200 for a low-end iPod capable of storing 100,000 songs and twelve feature-length movies ;)

One last thing to keep in mind. Good old Steve has had a thing for hermetically sealed boxes since the days of the original Mac, when opening up one to insert a hard drive would void your warranty. And for most people, hermetically sealed is the way to go. If you're a power computer user, you want an expandable computer; and if you're a serious music lover, a sealed solution like an iPod is a poor solution. But there's a certain beauty in keeping things elegant and for making something meant for everyday users.

Re:why battery life is a non-issue for most people (1)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775547)

(assuming the battery doesn't crap out before that due to old age.)

Which is exactly what all rechargable batteries do. It'll die after a couple years whether you charge it a lot or not. Still, a couple of years is a long time in terms of electronics.

Re:why battery life is a non-issue for most people (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775549)

> A charge lasts me a good six or seven hours, and I doubt if I listen to more than an hour of music a day. So figure one charge a week, or fifty charges a year.

Do people iPod owners wait until the batteries get totally discharged before powering?

Usually they charge at the 50% mark so they aren't left without a dead iPod. So the 10 years gets halfed to 5 years.

And I can see how fast it gets to the 50% charge mark is highly dependent on the volume of music, which is a personal preference.

>At that time, I'd be more than happy to plunk down, say, $200 for a low-end iPod capable of storing 100,000 songs and twelve feature-length movies ;)

Ugh. What ever happened to making things that last? When I buy something, even technology stuff, I want it to last.

Yeah yeah anecdotal evidence means nothing, but (2, Interesting)

sulli (195030) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775456)

my iPod, ordered the day it was announced, still works perfectly. Knock on scratched Lucite.

Not that outlandish (4, Informative)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775460)

First, lithium-ion batteries are not as simple as other rechargeable batteries. If the battery and control circuitry aren't set up right, the battery will explode or catch fire.

Second, whose cell phone batteries are only $10? A new lithium-ion battery for my phone costs about $50, and that's just something you can snap on and off yourself. To have someone open up your iPod and replace the battery, then mail it back...doesn't sound that unreasonable.

It's just what you get for buying a device that doesn't have an easily replaceable battery.

That said, there are ways to increase the lifetime of a lithium-ion battery. Back when I started college, we were all required to buy laptops. I was one of the few who actually read the manual, and it said the battery was good for a couple hundred full recharges, and about 800 partial recharges. Some people don't understand that lithium-ion batteries don't have the same memory effect that nickel-cadmium ones do. So for the duration of college, I kept the laptop plugged in whenever possible, and only ran the battery all the way down when I needed to use it for that long. Other people had to buy new $250 batteries, but my old laptop still gets about 2 hours life out of its five-year-old battery. I do the same for my cell phone; keep it on a charger whenever possible, and it still had good battery life when I need it.

If you use your iPod away from any source of recharging power so much, then I guess you just have to live with it. It's a fact of lithium-ion batteries, Apple's doing the best with what technology is available. And $99 isn't too expensive a replacement cost, if you had 18 months of wireless music. If you're willing to plug in whenever you sit down near a wall outlet, and don't wait until the battery is dead before recharging it, then your iPod will last much longer.

Cell phone batteries... (1)

Fulkkari (603331) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775465)

A replacement battery for my cell phone cost $10

Yes, and that's propably why they go *BOOM*.

some IBM Thinkpad batteries suck too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775473)

IBM Thinkpad 600 series has been know to have crappy batteries. I have read reports where a new battery had died within a few months

Personally, I'm going to be needing one for my 600E

Blame Canada!^WApple! (4, Insightful)

jstockdale (258118) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775481)

Common guys. This is one of the strongest cases of placing undue blame that I have seen. Manufacturing isn't perfect, and it seems that the number of people having their batteries fail at 18months is the minority. Why not just blame Sony while we're at it for inconsistant manufacturing or testing of their batteries, after all that's who makes the Li-Ion battery found in the iPod line.

Blaming Apple's engineers or design staff is at most a reach, because they didn't manufacture every piece of the iPod, they spec'd out the available technologies and then put them together with some creative hardware and software to (undeniably) create the best mp3 player currently available.

Do we see people blaming Maxtor for every hard drive (and it's quite a few) that fails after 18 months, espeically since their warrenty now only covers the first 12? How about the fact that 1 out of about 10 Maxtor drives is either DOA or dies within the first month? (Yes, I'm using a small sample size of my and friends purchases of aroud 14 Maxtor hdds in the last 2 years)

If you're buying a product with a 1 year warrenty, realize that you might just have to replace it after that time, or repair it. Hell $99 for a new iPod battery? Sounds like a good deal to me. I'd gladly pay Apple $49 to make sure I don't fuck up my iPod installing a $50 battery. This is a case of Apple finding a need of their customers that managed to get some of the shorter life batteries (and eventually the other customers) and responding.

The iPod video idiots and Washington Post are the ones who have been irresponsible in this case. Taking company policy from peons in the service department (of course they're going to say you have to buy a new iPod back _before_ Apple Corporate got the battery replacement in the pipeline) is not responsible reporting, nor is reporting on company policies that have been outdated by 6 months to a year.

Standard batteries = better (4, Insightful)

molafson (716807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775482)

The iPod's battery is one of the main reasons I've held off on buying one. I refuse to buy a portable music device that doesn't take AA or AAA batteries, since I need to be able to swap in a fresh battery while on the go. (Of course, my Minidisc player gets 40 hours of play time from a single AA battery, and it's not often that I go that long between recharging...)

Also, as noted, when AA rechargeables begin to crap out, they are cheaply and easily replaced.

Of course, it may be the case that the iPod draws too much power to subsist on AA's. To this I say: if Sony can design their Minidisc players to use AA's, and Apple cannot do the same for iPods, then Apple ought to hire some better engineers.

Way Too Much Whine-age (0)

Hitchcock_Blonde (717330) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775489)

If the battery dies (batteries are like that) have it replaced by Apple for $99 or replace it yourself for $50. I just can't see any reason for all the whine-age that goes on over this.

I've looked hard, but I can't find anywhere in my iPod literature that suggest it or its battery is supposed to last forever.

Re:Way Too Much Whine-age (0)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775525)

Apparently you didn't read the article. Typical of an Apple apologist.

Here's the Cliff's Notes for all you Mac People: When his battery went out, there was no replacement policy at Apple at any price; He tried getting a replacement through them; He purchased a battery online and tried replacing it himself, but he's not a technical person (typical mac user); He bought a new iPod; He was still ticked and wanted everyone to know that the battery might only last 18 months; He made a movie; Apple announced an extended warranty and a battery replacement program.

In the end the big horrible soulless corporation was shamed/worried-about-its-sales into doing the right thing.

Damn battery. (2, Informative)

YahoKa (577942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775491)

The battery on the iPod is the one and only reason I won't but one.
Here [] is a CNet article on other reasons not to buy one...

$10 Cell Phone Battery? WHERE? (2, Interesting)

Veldcath (591080) | more than 10 years ago | (#7775493)

I've looked at cell phone batteries before. I've never seen one cheaper than $40 for any phone I've owned. Where the HECK did the original poster get a $10 battery? I bought a battery for my first notebook. It cost me $120 and drained in under an hour of use. It drained when it just sat there powered off. I looked at the cost of getting a second battery for my current notebook. $200+. And people are complaining about the iPod batteries... -V

Battery tech is all tradeoffs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7775509)

1. My iPod also had the battery die early and out of warranty
2. I contacted Apple far before the $99 replacement offer
3. Apple replaced the battery. In short, I just plain don't believe the Neistat's story. Yes I've known people whose battery has died, and NONE of us have been told to get a new iPod. We had them replaced, by apple, for substantially less than the cost of a new iPod. I suspect the Neistat's are either lying or attempting to take advantage of an utterly atypical customer experience for a bit of showmanship. Apple's customer service has made me all the more likely to buy a mac, and soon.

Read about the Neistat brother's refusal to point out Apple's true replacement policy until they had no other choice [] . Finally after more than a month the link is there to Apple's replacement program. Their site wasn't about information, it was about being drama queens.

In any case, whatever you believe or don't about batteries and how long they should/shouldn't last, all battery tech is a tradeoff between weight, size, capacity, cycle life, total life, storage life, charge time, etc.

Read Batteries in a portable world [] with some simple explanations of the chemistry in batteries. After seeing some of the crap about battery life thrown about here, it's eye opening to read the truth.
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