Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Media (Apple) Media

iPod nano Owners In Screen Scratch Trauma 671

wellington map writes "TheRegister reports iPod nano users have discovered that it is unbelievably easy to scratch the screen, which quickly makes the colour screen all but useless for viewing album art and photos stored on the machine. Apple's discussion forums are already host to hundreds of threads on this topic."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

iPod nano Owners In Screen Scratch Trauma

Comments Filter:
  • Designer's Response (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kawahee ( 901497 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @09:27AM (#13643855) Homepage Journal
    I remember seeing this recently and saying something along the lines that users should 'wake up' to the fact that they had this device in their pockets with their keys. He also laughed at the fact that the screen wasn't made from some high-grade polymer, which would be cheap enough to cover the square inch or so of the screen.

    And let's not forget Apple is making these for a $100 profit, can they really not afford that extra 50c?
  • Testing? QA? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @09:27AM (#13643860)
    I'm curious, as somebody who comes from a manufacturing background... how did this product get shipped with such a glaringly obvious flaw? Does Apple test their products, or do they simply have a team of yuppie designers who send their designs to China, which in turn drop ships them directly to customers? Apple is going to have to announce a full recall, and I'm assuming, start firing people pretty quickly.
  • Show us! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SsShane ( 754647 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @09:34AM (#13643886)
    Nano users! Post big huge pics so we can all see.
  • Spray on fix? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hazee ( 728152 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @09:41AM (#13643923)
    Couldn't some sort of spray-on coating fix the problem? Might require a bit of masking tape around the screen while applying it, but still...

    I seem to recall a few months ago that TDK (I think) developed a new ultra-hard coating to protect either Blu Ray or HD-DVD discs (can't remember which). Sounds like a suitable coating, since it obviously has to be optically clear. While it's probably best applied at the factory, I wonder if they could turn it into an after-market spray for iPods?
  • by rocjoe71 ( 545053 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @09:54AM (#13643986) Homepage
    *Sighs with relief after not buying expensive music player*

    How rotter, considering the depth of the market out there, Apple should understand that people buy iPods for the looks more than just about any other reason, and they ought to have made the screen out of something damn-near bulletproof-- now a scratch-resistant screen would be a really nice selling feature.

    ...And has anyone tried getting out their CD repair kit and burnishing in the scratch removal stuff onto the screen by hand? You know, that scratch remover supposed to be good enough not to interfere with CD optics, it must be good enough for your Nano screens.

  • by SuperficialRhyme ( 731757 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @10:12AM (#13644062) Homepage
    As a chemist when I read in the register article:

    "When the point was put to the head of Apple's iPod division, Jon Rubenstein - who in the past oversaw the development of the Titanium PowerBook - the one that killed off Wi-Fi reception, because metal cages do that - he replied: 'Nah, you don't really think that? It's made of the hardest polycarbonate... You keep it in a pocket with your keys?'"

    I thought it had to be a joke. Apparently this is made of polycarbonate which scratches easily and this has been known for a long time. Apple probably just asked the supplier for their hardest material without taking scratching into account (basically they asked the wrong questions of their supplier). Admittedly an excellent supplier would have pointed out that a polycarb cover would scratch easily, but it's Apple's responsibility to do the research. I find it difficult to believe that no one noticed this in their tests of the device.

    They'll have to do something to fix this I'd imagine. What a blunder.
  • Unprovoked cracking (Score:1, Interesting)

    by isudoru ( 452928 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @10:14AM (#13644071)
    The big problem is also screens cracking unprovoked, not just scratching - which has been an issue with all iPods that I'm aware of.

    See more here: []
  • Re:Testing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RradRegor ( 913123 ) <> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @10:17AM (#13644088) Journal
    That's what you'd think. But when I saw the development schedule for the Nano, I understood how something like this could have happened. I think it was months, not years they've been working on this. Less than a year is not enough time to do a lot of development, not to mention field testing. Its an amazing accomplishment to get a high volume product to market that fast, and things like this screen problem are the price you pay for taking that risk.
  • by ishmalius ( 153450 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @10:33AM (#13644175)
    In my opinion, here [] is the benchmark as to what is resistant to scratching in normal everyday use. They -never- scratch. I like their advertisement where they expand on Timex... after a truck drives over the watch, not only does it "keep on ticking," but it shows no scratching or damage.
  • by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @11:08AM (#13644377) Homepage Journal
    My friend Nick just bought an iPod. He went ahead and got the mini instead of the nano and I'm glad he did after reading this article. I really like the iPod interface, and if it played oggs I'd probably have one myself.

    I think what makes this design flaw so bad is that it really should have been picked up during the testing phase. If you get a group of test subjects to use it for a month, how could they not get feedback when the screens start to scratch and break.

    I've read some post talking about nice cases you can get for your iPod such as this one: ectors.html []

    It's a nice case, transparent and looked like a good solution, however its something that should have come with the unit itself.

    I have a feeling this device was rushed into the market on its coolness factor and not enough time was spent testing and developing it for real world use. It reminds me of those Apple cubes that came out years ago with a touch sensetitive power button that had the tendency to turn of if you waved something warm across them.

    I love Apples. I wish I could affoard an iBook, however they do seem to place a lot in style and looks over actual preformance and cost in many cases, which I think has been one of the short falls of many of their designs.

  • Re:What mini? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by giberti ( 110903 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @11:11AM (#13644392) Homepage
    You can get them at most retailers still while they sell down their stock. The website is all Nano.

    I have a second generation iPod and have had very few issues with scratches. Of course I don't shove it in my pocket and there are some minor bumps and bruises, but as someone else pointed out already, if it's shiny when you buy it... it will get scratched over time, period. Get yourself some poly carbonate polish and clean the thing up yourself.

    Perhaps the next apple will use a tougher material for the facing... but you know that will increase the cost, probably significantly. Plastic scratches, that's all there is to it.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @11:21AM (#13644455)
    Secondly, it's PLASTIC. If you don't want it to scratch, then cover it. The NANO Tubes will be out very shortly so that you and your ilk can stop your crying.
    Will you eat your words if Apple finally fesses up and fixes the problem? I bet they will, just as with the super-noisy Dual G4 power supplies.

    People aren't as dumb as you assume. Everybody who owns a nano has owned a cellphone, PDA, or other mp3 player, and knows what sort of durability is realistic.

    PS, "it's PLASTIC" doesn't mean anything - there are many types, some softer than others.

  • Use Clickie Eraser (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zentec ( 204030 ) * <<zentec> <at> <>> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @11:33AM (#13644522)
    One of those Clickie white latex erasers will remove the scratches.
  • by a23 ( 917626 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @11:40AM (#13644560)
    Hi, I can resist to comment on this subject since I've ordered the nano on the day of its introduction.

    Some people here have replied to complaints about the easy scratching of the nano with stuff like "take care of your gadgets, blah, blah" and the like. Well let me tell you about my experiences and therefore expectations.

    I bought an iPod 3G 30GB and I didn't care about what it shared my pocket or rucksack with. And after two years it looked rough. Same goes for some mobile phones from Nokia. But one year ago I bought a Nokia 7610 and its display hasn't been scratched since. Obviously it's very scratch resistant. So, my expectations in the direction of a day-to-day-in-use gadget changed.

    Now looking at my nano after a week seeing more and foremost deeper scratches on it, I'm sure lot's of you will understand my disappointment. From my experience The nano scratches a lot easier than my G3 iPod or Shuffle, if not easier then at least deeper scratches. But my N7610s display doesn't seem to get scratched at all and it certainly is the most abused out of the four. So that's what I've come to expect.

    With Steve Jobs talking about people getting greedy, I wonder why the nano has such an inferior surface than it's predecessors.

    Thanks for reading.

  • by baryon351 ( 626717 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @11:54AM (#13644617)
    I have never figured out why owners of Apple products refuse to hold Apple to a high standard across the board.

    I think it's the other way around. Apple owners complain about the smallest things. I have an 3D iPod, and it has the odd scratch on it, but nothing really noticeable. I put it down to being a white product, so it doesn't show scratches up as badly.

    My 2GB black nano however, shows scratches more visibly. But it doesn't worry me because I also have a black shiny clock, a black shiny desk calculator, a black shiny PDA and another brand black shiny mp3 player (name withheld to keep the flaming down).

    THEY ALL SCRATCH WORSE THAN WHITE PRODUCTS DO. The nano scratches just as badly as any of them, or no worse than any of them depending how you want to look at it. Black shows scratches far worse. Period. Apple-only users have never had to deal with a glossy all black product, so they're all in a mouth frothing tizz over it acting like all the other shiny black products on the market. It would be nice if it weren't this way, hell it would be nice if Apple were able to do what other manufacturers couldn't do, but they didn't. It's not perfect, but it's not a glaringly deficient design fault like many are making it out to be.

    I like Apple's products, but their fanbase can be utter retards sometimes.

  • Overblown (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @11:56AM (#13644622)
    So 188+ people have complained about scratched screens? To be fair, lets say its happened to 500 people. Would that constitute the majority of nano owners? I'd be willing to bet, by this point, that several thousand, if not tens of thousands of people own them. Even if one thousand of them complained, you could still only be talking about 10% of users (A significant, however relatively small number).

    I can also speak from experience- I have a white nano. I've had it for about 2 weeks. I use it almost every day, in my pocket, with no protection. I see nothing more than the normal "iPod-esq" scratches...Of which I've seen on all the iPods I've owned. I'd take pictures and such, but its really nothing to look at.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:03PM (#13645014) Homepage
    I have never figured out why owners of Apple products refuse to hold Apple to a high standard across the board.

    You might think, at first, that it's because Apple users are brainwashed. However, the real problem is that they're incredibly picky. Take, for example, the Powerbook Ti, which had certain areas where the paint chipped off. When this became a known problem, owners went out and found replacement paint, being very careful to match the color exactly. A small market opened up, and people were selling paint specifically as "Powerbook Ti touch-up paint."

    Now, has this happened on such a large scale with Sony, Dell, or HP laptops? No. Is it because Sony, Dell, and HP laptops don't ever have discolorations or chipped, faded, or worn away paint on their casings? No. It's because if you've owned a Sony laptop for 3 years, and a little paint gets worn away, you probably don't even notice. You just expect that something being carried around all the time like that will eventually have some wear and tear. Mac users, on the other hand, get incredibly upset that their little pride and joy has a tiny little flake come loose.

    I'm sure it's the same issue here, though I haven't seen any pictures, I've just read reports that the nano scratches. Ho hum. My 4G ipod has scratches. Everyone I know who's owned an mp3 player for more than a few days, there's probably a little wear and tear somewhere. It's lost it's "new car smell". I bet the things still work and that you can still navigate the menu system. It's still a hell of a little device.

    Which brings us back to why Apple owners are going to be forgiving: it's still a hell of a device. Like I said, Apple users are picky. They're annoyed by the fact that the products they buy have occasional flaws, but that's nothing compared to what they view as the mountain of flaws afflicting the products made by other manufacturers.

  • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:22PM (#13645142) Homepage
    It appears to be just normal handling. I went to an Apple store about a week after the announcement to see the Nano, and the display models that were just sitting on the counter were already incredibly scuffed and scratched. Made me wonder how often they were going to need to replace them...
  • by NutscrapeSucks ( 446616 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:32PM (#13645527)
    > Now, has this happened on such a large scale with Sony, Dell, or HP laptops?

    I've never seen a Sony, Dell or HP laptop that was painted at all. Much less painted in a way where two inch long strips peel off the thing. This was a problem very particular to that model of computer.

    Yes Apple users tend to view Macs as luxury goods, and therefore are picky, but painted titanium just turned out to be a lousy idea for a laptop shell.
  • by arodland ( 127775 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:42PM (#13645592)
    I've never seen a Sony, Dell or HP laptop that was painted at all. Much less painted in a way where two inch long strips peel off the thing

    Got one right here. Dell latitude D600, painted all over with some sort of damn ugly semi-metallic silver paint. Within a couple months after I got it, giant strips of the paint started coming off of the back of the LCD, caused (as far as I can tell) by nothing more than my putting it into my laptop bag and taking it out again.

    "Fortunately", I had to get the LCD replaced because the entire hinge assembly snapped into two for no reason, and the new one has had no such problem. But no, it's not an Apple thing particularly.
  • by unladen swallow ( 844965 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @04:08PM (#13646036)
    You put a deep gouge on your Gen 4 iPOD with your fingernail?

    If it is a true statement then I suggest you clip your nails.

    I have dropped my Gen 3 iPOD to the point it has a dent in the metal.

    I let it slide around my car when I am taking corners.

    It rides along in my jeans pocket/laptop case with no protection.

    While the metal is showing signs of damage, the screen is intact with no visible damage when I look at it to change songs.

  • by NutscrapeSucks ( 446616 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @04:11PM (#13646055)
    All true, but it makes no attempt to explain why. I suppose a big factor is that Apple products are often sold on sex-appeal value rather than pure functionality. When the TiBook came out, I'm sure that many owners headed right for the nearest coffee shop just to show it off.

    But the biggest factor is that the Apple ecosystem is very much Love It Or Leave It. I've had crappy Dells and wished I had an IBM. No big deal. But with Apple, the decision point is much greater -- it means leaving the platform. And therefore when there's a doggy model like the TiBook, it puts the userbase in a much higher state of consternation.
  • by mpfife ( 655916 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:07PM (#13646339)
    I find this notion interesting - I've heard people say it about laptop screens, camera lcd's, etc and I start wondering. Why build something that is gorgeous, sleek, and looks like art in motion (and it is beautiful) if you instantly have to pack it in bulky neoprene, clear plastic protector wraps, etc - if you want it to survive at any functional level. What was the point of the original slick design if you can't actually SEE it that way when using it 99% of the time? What's the advantage over a 3rd party cheaper-but-not-so-pretty solution again?
  • by Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) * on Sunday September 25, 2005 @07:30PM (#13647071)
    ......Or not be such a technophobe and spend the $30 and put a new battery in yourself (like my "like new" 2nd Gen iPod has in it...)

    Or, if you fear using your hands that much, just use it as a FW disk.... throwing it away WOULD be dumber than a box of hammers.. :)

  • by Squozen ( 301710 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @08:06PM (#13647232) Homepage
    It's a music player (with a 1.5yr life thanks to the battery)

    Only if you have no idea how to treat a device with a lithium ion battery. I bought my 3G iPod in June 2004, use it daily and it still gets 9-10 hours, because I manage it properly.

    Tips for preserving your battery life can be found at []
  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @11:14PM (#13648034)
    I wonder if the other iPods are coated lexan, or a different grade of lexan etc. If they thought they were using the exact same material, then I can see how they overlooked it.
  • by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @11:37PM (#13648148)
    PowerBook paint chips, PowerBook palm stains, PowerBook warping, iBooks getting dirty, iPod battery life, mouse ergonomics.

    I acknowledge the online bitching, but the only one of these that has had any legal legs is the iPod battery problem.

    I think there's a strong meme/peer influence factor at work online. A few loud people bitch about a problem, and suddenly it seems like everyone has the problem, the company fucked up and the product is in trouble. It's like the hundreds of calls the CDC gets everytime a local news broadcast covers some terrible disease. Remember the furor over Google redirect hijacking? Huge numbers were thrown around describing the scope, but could never be proven. And many of the people who thought they'd been hijacked ended up having much more mundane problems.

    Personally I'll refer judgment on this latest crisis until some time passes.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @09:44AM (#13650154)
    It's a music player (with a 1.5yr life thanks to the battery)


    By 3G iPod had a battery that lasted just under 1.5 years due to lots and lots of charging cycles... so I replaced it.

    For $20, I've got a battery that lasted longer than the original one did when it was new. The life of my iPod is FAR from over.

    The company which sold me the battery even included a little plastic tool for opening the case up. Replacing the battery was easier (and less delicate) than installing memory on a typical laptop.

    It's long past time for the iPod battery troll to go away.

Loose bits sink chips.