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Apple iPods – built in obsolescence?

Somewhat old news this, and I know there’s lots of people more knowledgeable than me on things like this, but this is something that’s of interest to me.

A couple of years ago now, there were stories (such as this one) in the UK press where consumers were becoming convinced that Apple was designing iPods to malfunction or “stop working after less than 18 months, and often just outside the one-year warranty period.” Apple counter that their machines are designed to work for up to 3 years – yet they still only provide 1 year warranties.

This recent story from the Consumerist.com would seem to support the assertions of the previous UK reports. The article shows a letter from a frustrated Apple user who after 5 years, and 6 malfunctioning iPods, had to resort to writing directly to Steve Jobs simply asking for an iPod that worked.

Unsurprisingly (with my consumer affairs hat on and all that), Mr.Jobs did not respond, but instead directed the letter writer to the “Apple’s “Executive Customer Relations” department” which according to them is proving to be “a joke”.

I guess it’s Apple users like this that has caused the Apple share price to go from $6 to nearly $200 in the past 5 years. They’re buying multiple products (way more than they really should be I suppose), and still coming back for more.

I quit Apple after 1 dodgy iPod back in 2003 – within 12 months the thing broke and was “unrepairable” according to the less than helpful Apple UK Customer Service.

I have a Creative Zen for the past 2 years now which is absolutely perfect – not as cool as the Apple, but costing me less every day, and does exactly the same thing.

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