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Media (Apple) Businesses Media Apple

iPod Users Get Official Battery Replacement 93

Posted by pudge
from the just-buy-a-new-iPod dept.
turkmenistani writes "It's about time. After much complaining from iPod owners, Apple has finally started an official Official iPod Battery replacement (requires a free Apple ID). Although battery replacements have been available for older iPods for some time now, Apple has finally taken heed to their user requests and are now offering the service. From the Support page: 'If your iPod fails to hold a charge and it's more than a year old, you may need a new battery. Click Continue to order iPod battery service for $99 USD. This program is not available in Europe at this time.' Although the service is $99, they state in the article 'iPod equipment that is sent in for battery service or service requiring other repairs will be replaced with functionally equivalent new, used, or refurbished iPod equipment. You will not receive the same iPod that was sent in for service.' So make sure you back up that music before shipping it off!"
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iPod Users Get Official Battery Replacement

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  • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:11PM (#7532538)
    1) A user sends in his iPod with a battery that's not working.

    2) Apple sends him a refurbished iPod of the same type.

    3) Apple then refurbishes the user's original iPod, getting it ready to redistribute elsewhere.

    Not only is this quick, but it makes a lot of sense! Of course, the refurbished iPods have to be in mint condition, but otherwise what's not to like (except the fact that it needs to be sent away and shipped back, instead of just purchasing a replacement battery at Apple)?

    • So I want to replace the battery of the $500 iPod I bought a few years ago and had engraved and have taken excellent care of. I get back someone elses also ran for the low low price of only $99.

      This sucks. Apple makes me happy one day then pisses me off the next. Reminds me of a lot of bad relationships.
      • Re:This is bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

        by mikedaisey (413058) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:30PM (#7532731) Homepage

        Engraved ones are handled differently--the one you get back will have the same engraving.

        I've had my iPod replaced before, and the replacement looked identical to a new iPod, to my eyes. I think your concerns are pretty unfounded.
        • by hawkbug (94280)
          I can't afford an ipod yet, but if I could, and it needed a new battery, I'd be mad as hell if I couldn't just get the battery in mine replaced. I don't want somebody else's ipod, I would want the one that I took very special care of. For all these people know, they could get one back that has been dropped a lot, etc. Those things have moving parts in them, so dropping them over time will definitely do some long term damage.
          • by jazman_777 (44742)
            I would want the one that I took very special care of.

            The ones who take very good care of their things are wary. The ones who don't are eager. Do I sense a problem with the program here?

          • It's not like they just grab one out of a box that a customer returns, and run a polishing mitt over it, and ship it out to you.

            Any Apple reconditioned product gets thoroughly tested before it gets sent out. That's why they offer a warranty on reconditioned items. If they're not worried about it breaking prematurely, why should you be?

            -Mark
            • I realize they test them - they would have to. But that doesn't mean that an ipod works fine the day they tested it, but say I would drop it once and that adds to the 30x it had been dropped already, and it the drive could die. I think this is a horrible idea.
            • by Anonymous Coward
              There are different forms of mechanical failure. Some instant and catastrophic, with no symptoms to forsee it coming. Hard drive crash after much use or abuse, for example. Please tell me the tests that can predict if my hard disk is near its failure point. Maybe it passes today, but will it fail in 1 month or 13 months?

              If they're not worried about it breaking prematurely, why should you be?

              Very simple... For Apple, it is a numbers game. If only 200 out of the 90,000 iPod users are unhappy, Apple
        • no issue (Score:4, Informative)

          by djupedal (584558) on Friday November 21, 2003 @11:51PM (#7534609)
          The one you get back will have the rear/chrome engraved cover swapped onto it...takes only a few minutes, but requires manual processing and thus take a few more days overall. This does take you out of the running for a chance at getting a newer/better model, however.
        • My friend sent his in to get fixed under warranty and got a brand new one back. Apple might not say it's brand new but if you've had an iPod a while, the back gets scratched/scuffed up. The repaired one is pristine. I've heard similar experiences on ipodlounge.com.
      • If the iPod were a graduation present from an old man who turned 98, won the lottery, and died the next day, it could have sentimental value that another (used) one of the shelf doesn't have.

        Also, what about any music you have on the hard drive? Hard drived do have a MTBF. If you get one that's been used 24-7, it may have a shorter life span (although if you use it sparingly, you might not ever find out).

        oh well. I don't even own one (yet).

    • Well, since opening the iPod requires actually prying the case open, I can understand why they wouldn't offer an option to just buy the battery.

      Also getting a refurbed iPod back is not a bad thing. Apple's refurbed products have the same testing & quality requirements before being shipped out as their new equipment does (same warranty too). I recently bought a refurbed 12" PowerBook and a refurbed 20GB iPod (old style), and I've been extremely happy with both. I honestly wouldn't have known that either
      • Apple's refurbed products have the same testing & quality requirements before being shipped out as their new equipment does

        That is essentially tech-illiterate market-speak and not worthy of a slashdot discussion.

        The testing requirements are radically different for a piece of equipment that is fresh off a production line and for a piece of equipment that has been out in the field and treated in an unknown fashion by a random user.

        A brand new item can be electrically tested, cosmetically inspected, an
        • I wasn't trying to say that refurbs are always going to be just as good as brand new gear. What I was trying to do was dispel the notion that their refurbed gear is just used equipment which is tested to work, then shipped out. They break down the product into its parts, replace the external parts and test each internal part individually, then reassemble.

          But thanks for the assumptions and veiled insults.
        • First off, why is it that anyone who posts with a differing opinion claims that the topic is "not worthy of discussion"?

          Second, in your rant about marketing claims you failed to include in your quote the part about the warranty - a quick check on Apple's site reveals refurbs are covered by a one-year limited warranty (although I didn't look up the specifics). So it's not as though they're picking up replacement iPods out of a box, wiping off the tire marks from where they were run over a few times, and
    • How about spending 1/4 of the price of the device to obtain a battery. My Vaio laptop battery replacement was $96.00 through Amazon and I did not have to pay to ship it back and forth. Also, I kept the old battery so even though the charge was only 1/2 as good as it use to be it is still usable.

      How much does the battery degrade after a year of heavy usage? I was thinking of getting an iPod but I do not want to have to spend $100+ every 16 mos to keep it usable.

      • by IM6100 (692796) <elben@mentar.org> on Saturday November 22, 2003 @12:44AM (#7534872)
        The cost of producing a product with a user-replacable battery is significantly higher than making the battery a sealed-unit part of the device.

        I know, I've participated in battery compartment design for small handheld medical devices. It can end up being a huge part of the cost of developing a product. If you haven't done weeks and weeks of drop-testing battery contacts after customer-return problems, you wouldn't understand...
  • by TTop (160446) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:15PM (#7532565)
    So what happens if you have one the engraved iPods? I can just hear my wife when I get the "new" one back -- "Who's Vanessa???"
    • Engraved iPods will be treated differently. You didn't really think Stebe overlooked this, did you?

      • Yes, I do.

        After all, they are charging 99.00 USD for a battery. And that is what they are doing, their is no other way to get a new battery, so they are ripping people off.

        All this for a little box that plays music.
        • You can buy a generic battery and install it yourself (YES, you can). They are available on the internet. You void your warranty. Basically they're charging you for shipping both ways, labor and parts. At a hundred bucks, I think it's pretty reasonable.

          If you think it's just a box that plays music, its much more: It's a firewire hard drive, it's a calendar, it's a contact viewer, it's even got games. On top of that its the best walkman ever.

          • On top of that its the best walkman ever.

            Only for certain 'best walkman' paramaters.

            Some would say that the 'best walkman' would be one that is so inexpensive that you can lose one every six months without it mattering that also has adequately high quality playback. For some purposes this could be a $6 garage sale cassette-based 'walkman', for others it might mean something more. It definitely wouldn't mean something that costs over $300.

            It's similar to the 'cheap camera' thing. There are tons of pla
            • I'm getting an portable cd player that plays MP3s and CD-R/CD-RWs for $59CAD in a week or two. That gives me as many hours of music as my battery allows, and more on a single RW disc that I can reuse. Much better than the $440CAD 10GIG iPod, IMO.
        • "After all, they are charging 99.00 USD for a battery. And that is what they are doing, their is no other way to get a new battery"

          For $50 and you can install it yourself [ipodbattery.com].
  • Didn't RTFA, 'cause I don't have an Apple ID - maybe someone who did RTFA can say if Apple answers this question:

    Does Apple just refurb the "guts" of the iPod, or the whole thing? I've noticed that Apple offers engraving / personalization in their store - I would hope that they would only change the internal hardware, and leave the shell alone in the case of a personalized iPod.

    iPod is on my list, but I don't think Santa's gonna be that generous this year... :-(

    • heh... guess I'm not the only one asking this [slashdot.org] question [slashdot.org]...
    • Agreement:
      APPLE COMPUTER, INC.
      REPAIR TERMS AND CONDITIONS

      IMPORTANT: BY CLICKING ON THE "I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD, AND AGREE TO THE REPAIR TERMS AND CONDITIONS" STATEMENT BELOW YOU AGREE THAT THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS GOVERN THE REPAIR OF YOUR PRODUCT BY APPLE COMPUTER, INC. ("APPLE")
      Apple will repair your product as described and for the charges offered to you (unless such charges are revised with your prior oral or written consent). When the product repair is covered by warranty, Apple will perform rep
  • back when I had a G3 lombard, they replaced my power brick free of charge. Now, the iPod batteries. I love you apple.

  • $99? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:27PM (#7532702) Homepage Journal
    You have to be kidding! I know the iPods are still in the early/expensive phase, but a hundred bucks for a battery is highway robbery, especially as they don't seem to last more than a year.

    Are there any third-party developers making cheaper versions? Sounds like there is a market there.

    • Seems the battery alone can be had for 49, which isn't a whole lot less than 100$:
      http://www.mdsbatteries.co.uk/shop/product p rofile. asp?ProductGroupID=1249

      The Danionics batteries are quite expensive but supposedly lighter than comparable models.

      Danionics isn't exactly doing well:

      http://www.danionics.com/sw982.asp

      and has recieved a lot of bad press in danish media as analysts has predicted that they will go out of business soon.

      Maybe Apple will switch to a cheaper model battery if Danionics is unable
    • Re:$99? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mikey-San (582838) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:47PM (#7533281) Homepage Journal
      Do the math on it:

      Minimum of a year's worth of batteries. Let's be generous and say two AAs.

      Ten hours of play a day, for three hundred sixty-five days. If one set of batteries, let's say, lasts for two of those charges, and you listen for five hours a day on average, you're looking at buying about ninety pair of AAs a year. At two bucks a pop--minimum, for good 2-packs of AA batteries, that's more than you pay for the replacement battery which will give you a year of play, in theory, at the minimum. And it doesn't waste battery carcasses, which is good for the environment. /And/ you don't have to deal with buying batteries (always an annoyance that can be done without), and weak-ass battery compartments that fly open at the slightest hint of shock.

      Now, if I've underestimated how long the batteries would drive an iPod, let's double their life up there. That cuts your yearly AA pair consumption in half, to about 45. That's /still/ only a couple of bucks shy of a replacement battery from Apple.

      How is this highway robbery?

      Postscript: Long day. Math may be wrong. Please do not flame. Thanks, Management.
      • Re:$99? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by n.wegner (613340) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:55PM (#7533344)
        Uhuh. If you compare with NiMH, however, you lose.
        • by karnal (22275)
          You bring up an interesting point. I just saw another page stating that in regular use (one charge every 2 days or so) the battery should theoretically last about 2-3 years... Now I know that Apple sells a "battery pack" add on that allows you to add 2 AA cells to lengthen the time between charges.... this would ptobably have the nice side effect of extending the time between failures of the main battery... barring that the same usage patterns are employed...
        • NiMH batteries don't respond as well to partial charges and incompete charge cycles.

          The typical usage of an iPod would suggest that its battery would often begin charging when not cmpletely flat, and disconnected before it's full, especially if you connect it to the firewire bus frequently for song updates and so on rather than connecting it to the power brick and leaving it to charge up fully on its own.

          Sure you could leave it charging on the firewire bus, but what if you want to shut your computer off o
      • Then you have to factor in the amount of money you spend on the electricity bill recharging the iPod every day though...
      • I'm not comparing it to AA's. I'm comparing it to batteries for other handheld devices. Granted, the iPod will suck a lot more juice than a normally used cellphone, but still, it's a steep price.
    • by Zo0ok (209803)
      Sure it is expensive!

      I bought the original 5 GB iPod, that is almost two years ago now. I would not say my battery time is shorter now than it was when it was new (and last year, I have been using my iPod daily). Firmware upgrades have improved battery time.

      The iPod has always had fairly shitty standby battery time - leave it for a week and you can most likely not use it. But when it is fully charged I can still use it as much as I like a day or two without problems. I always recharge it over night. When
  • Well. Uh... cool? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fulkkari (603331) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:29PM (#7532719)
    After much complaining from iPod owners

    Well. That's nice if your battery is dead, but just how many iPods are there with dead batteries anyway? I have had my own iPod for over a year now, and the battery is just fine even though I listen to the iPod daily. One charge lasts to me about 10 hours.

    iPodlounge has btw some tips [ipodlounge.com] how to recharge and use the iPod to maximaze battery lifetime.

    • Old firmware caused some serious battery problems for some users. Not me though!
      • Lithium-Ion batteries can have their life shortened to a year through a bad charging algorithm. In particular, keeping them mostly plugged in and charging, with a couple of hours of sleep in between, followed by topping off the battery again, is bad.

        My G3 Firewire Powerbook ('Pismo' model) went through its original battery in about 13 months, thanks to running OS X 10.0 on it. Partly because of the charging algorithm, and partly because 10.0 didn't turn everything off during sleep (I could tell that 10.0

        • actually ipod lounge says just the opposite for lithium-ion, and says they have no memory and that they should generally never be fully discharged...

          According to about 5 minutes of googling this is correct, one of the benefits of lithium ion battery is that it has no memory...

          check...
          http://www.cellpower.com/battery_tips . cfm ... and ...
          http://wireless.berkeley.edu/services/battery .shtm l

          However... if you're machine has done a lot of charging and discharging, then the battery is just dead... afterall ev
  • by kalidasa (577403) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:36PM (#7532779) Journal
    Mine has a very, very nice scratch all along the right side. Does this mean if I replace the battery I'll get one without the scratch?
    • That would be an interesting "customer service" feature...

      Apple gets your ipod, swaps for a "new" or refurb, and then has a technician re-create the scratch marks on your new one, to perfection.

      Talk about an amazing company!
  • by Joey Patterson (547891) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:37PM (#7532790)
    1. User buys new iPod.
    2. Several years later, iPod dies.
    3. User blames the problem on a dead battery (even though that might not be the case) and sends iPod back to Apple.
    4. User gets new/refurbished iPod.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:40PM (#7532805)
    AppleCare for iPod [apple.com].

    Apple just began selling extended coverage for iPod. @ $59 USD. As for the battery, it can be obtained cheaper from ipodbattery.com; unlike in the past, now they sell all generation replacement batteries.

    Hope this helps.
    • Well, AppleCare for the iPod costs $59 and includes coverage for:
      • iPod
      • iPod battery
      • iPod earphones
      • iPod dock
      • iPod wired remote

      What's more, they'll replace your iPod's battery if it is at least 50% depleted under AppleCare. But then again, the iPod Battery Replacement Program linked above costs $99.

      • What's more, they'll replace your iPod's battery if it is at least 50% depleted under AppleCare.

        Given that rechargeable batteries are considered defect from a technical point of view if they have lost ~ 25% of their capacity, that's a bad deal for the customer.

  • Apple seems to always put itself in the position of making it's customers very unhappy. If they send you back another ipod and say something fails on it (hdrive or anything else) they have opened themselves up to big problems. Who is to say that the ipod you sent in would have failed in the same manor. These ipods aren't coming back with a warranty on anything. I think that this is a bad way for apple to handle this. I can't understand why they don't have this kind of thing happen out of the genius bar
    • I'm surprised that Apple actually thought Lithium-Ion batteries were reliable enough to not make them user-replaceable.

      As for the "genius bar", that doesn't help much when the nearest Apple Store is a three- to five-hour drive away.

      • I'm surprised that Apple actually thought Lithium-Ion batteries were reliable enough to not make them user-replaceable.

        These are actually Lithium-polymer batteries, generally said to be more reliable than the old-school Lithium Ions (with liquid electrolyte). And actually Apple is not the only company with this attitude - recent cellphones also have batteries quite cumbersome to replace. I guess it's a matter of design compromises - at some stage you can't make the device smaller and lighter and STILL pr
    • OK, generally Apple gives you a limited 90 day (iirc.. it may be shorter) warranty on stuff that it replaces for you. So, if they're sending out refurbed units, there should be a 90 day warranty covering the whole thing. If it fails during that time period, you get another new/refurbed unit.
    • All Apple repairs and refurbs (that I've had done) come with a 90 day (minimum) waranty on them.
    • A corollary to your point is that Appple is now negating the manner in which you care for your iPod.

      Let's say you're super-careful and never allow even a smudge on your iPod. It stops charging. You send it in for battery replacement.

      What comes back, while looking similar, has actually been dropped, thrown around, left outside, farted upon through the back trouser pocket of an SCO executive, tightened between Steve Ballmer's thighs while he practices Desk-Jockey Calisthenics, and vanished internally du

  • by danigiri (310827) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:13PM (#7533039)
    The RIAA rapid-action commandos are scrambling as of now.

    Destination: Apple headquarters.

    Primary Objective: ensure that any Apple employee does not listen either intentionally or unintentionally to any iPod sent in for battery replacement. That would be a clear infrigement of intellectual property. Royaltes must be paid for any complete songs or fragments overheard.

    Secondary Objective: nail some of those PowerBooks...

    I repeat, I repeat: all units head to Apple HQ immediately.

    dani++
  • by dbirchall (191839) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:30PM (#7533167) Journal
    AppleCare for iPod [apple.com] is only $59, and extends the phone/mail-in-repair warranty from 90 days/1 year to 2 years/2 years. It covers the battery, as well as the rest of the iPod and all the stuff that comes with it in the box. So if you've got an iPod less than a year old, you can pick that up now. Nicely cheaper than the battery replacement service. I'll probably be getting it for my wife's 10GB iPod - didn't even know the headphones that died were still under warranty.
  • Oh... (Score:2, Funny)

    by dydxjessedydt (590130)
    What about those of us who develop a strong emotional attachment to our iPods. I cant bear the thought of my iPod... in another's greasy hands. The thought gives me shivers.
  • Click Continue to order iPod battery service for $99 USD. This program is not available in Europe at this time.

    So, either:

    1) iPods shipped in Europe have batteries that never wear down or need replacing; or

    2) European customers just got shafted again.

    Hint: the answer's an even number. Why is it that iPod owners who don't live in North America should have to wait to buy something that's probably smaller than a box of matches? And how long will they have to wait? Three months? Six months? A year?
  • It's about time. After much complaining from iPod owners, Apple has finally started an official Official iPod Battery replacement

    Is this a response to complaints, or is it just possible that we are just now reaching the time when some of the third-generation iPods are getting old enough for Apple to actually need this program?

    But that would mean tha all previous whining was just a speculative over-reaction to "you can't replace the battery" FUD, and we can't go thinking that now, can we?

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