September 24, 2005 12:38 PM PDT

Problems surfacing with iPod Nano screen

Some owners of Apple Computer's new "impossibly small" iPod Nano are starting to wonder if the device is also impossibly delicate.

The most widespread complaint about the otherwise highly praised device seems to be that the color display screen gets scratched extremely easily.

Nano owner Brian Cason posted one of 250-some threads in response to a recent post on Apple's discussion board about screen scratching.

"I don't really care if the case on my Nano gets scratched but my screen has scratched up so badly that all the images are starting to become distorted," Cason wrote, echoing the sentiment of many others in the discussion. "I have only carried it in my small pocket in my shorts and nothing is in there to scratch it. I still can't figure how the screen looks like it has been rubbed with sandpaper when the entire time it has been safe in my pocket (with absolutely no items)."

But this week, several users also started complaining about screens cracking, or failing, inexplicably. Nano owner Matthew Peterson set up the site flawedmusicplayer.com (formerly ipodnanoflaw.com) to tell the story about how his Nano screen shattered after just four days, to see if others have had the same problem, and to suggest that Apple recall the Nano and use a stronger screen product.

"It is way too fragile. Apple markets it in a pocket. Hell, Steve Jobs himself pulls it out of his when he announces it," wrote Peterson, who himself was smitten with the Nano upon its release. "It was in my pocket as I was walking and I sat down. No, I didn't sit on it."

An Apple official was not immediately available for comment on the alleged problems with Nano screens.

Some Nano owners have written to flawedmusicplayer.com, challenging its premise and arguing that they haven't had any problems with their screens. They chalk problems up to user abuse and reference an Ars Technica report that shows the Nano holds up to extreme circumstances.

Several, however, e-mailed with similar screen failures and debated whether the problem is caused by a design flaw or poor manufacturing, possibly just in an isolated batch.

iPodnn pointed out that at least one iPod repair company, iPodResQ, has temporarily raised the price of Nano LCD repair "due to LCD availability and overwhelming demand."

Last June, Apple agreed to settle several class action suits over the battery life of earlier iPod models, offering extended service warranties and $50 store credits to consumers who lodged complaints.

175 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Parasites
I am constantly amazed at people who will abuse their technology
then expect it to work flawlessly without exception. "It's not my
fault!" No one ever wants to take responsibility anymore.

Also, don't be surprised if this turns out to be a lawyer driven
attempt to initiate a class action suit just to cash in. In fact, I'm
betting it is. Parasites.
Posted by cjohn17 (268 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple overpriced crap per usual
Reminds me of the failing battery years ago.
Posted by wazzledoozle (288 comments )
Reply Link Flag
but you can drive a car over it....
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/nano.ars" target="_newWindow">http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/nano.ars</a>

These people must be eating too many crispy creams.
Posted by (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Boy Apple Fanboys are dimwitted
If it scratches so easily, buy a PDA screen protector and cut it out to size to fit the Nano screen. Sheesh.
Posted by ballssalty (219 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Scratches... what scratches??
I was about to blame the users, until I saw pictures of the damage.

We are not talking about "scratches". We are talking about internal damage to the displays. What they call scratches is actually a leakage of the liquid that generates the colors inside the display due to internal rupture.

This is definitely a manufacturing problem. LCDs are not supposed to leak (internally) that way.
Posted by wackoae (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Not Windows users?
Did you seriously just claim that this wasn't the fault of stupid Windows users, and nothing else???

Seriously???
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Unexplicably isn't a word
How can you claim to be a credible news outlet if you don't even
have an editor that knows the difference between "inexplicable" and
"unexplicable"? Maybe they don't know the difference between
"Dell" and "Apple," either.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Heat damage is not "scratching"
These totally look like heat damage, not scratches. It is possible
that a defective screen would be more prone to this kind of issue
but it is out of the ordinary for a typical LCD. I would leave open
the possibility that there are defective screens out there, but I
would also bet a nickel that some folks simply did something
stupid and don't want to take responsibility for it. And by
"something stupid" I don't necessarily mean using Windows :)

Have a nice day.
Posted by lesfilip (496 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple must've scrimped on testing the Nano...
Because if this problem is so wide spread there is no way the product could have been tested that well. I mean, this is a portable device, they need to test these things by going as far as to dropping them off of a 2nd floor and backing over them with a car. Oh well, I'm glad I won't have to pay $50 to get a Nano screen replaced!!! :-D :-D
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No problem's here.
Mine hasn't scratched and I'm very happy with it.
I was also happy with the price.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
CNET review of the Nano should be updated.
In light of all the reports regarding the fragile nature of the Nano's LCD, CNET might want to retract their editor's choice award. While the review does mention the finish of the product is easily scratched, that's a far less prolem then the lcd being scratch and rendered unlegible. Ironically, the review recommends an action noted noted most often as the cause of broken lcd's: "It's more natural to slide the iPod Nano into a jeans pocket".

Or maybe the CNET reviews don't read CNET's tech sites.
Posted by seespottype (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Intelligence, anyone?????
Has anyone actually defined the magnitude of the problem??? There
are far too many people blowing smoke, damn few, if any, who
really know what they are talking about.

I suggest all the wannabe motor mouths take a vacation and let
those who do know what's going on tell the actual tale. Then
maybe we will find out just how big a teapot is required for this
tempest.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
News flash!!!!!
The sun comes up in the east.
Water flows downhill.
Hot air rises.
A piece of plastic in a pocket with keys and change gets scratched.
Duh.
Posted by Norseman (1319 comments )
Reply Link Flag
insanity
I've read some wacky threads here, but this one takes the cake.

One of my favorites is the one implying that it must have been Windows users living in their own filth that caused these people's screen problems with the Nano.

What I really want to know is this though, why is it that an 80% market share for mp3 players automaticly means that Apple's IPOD is the best thing since sliced bread, but a 90% share for MS automaticly means that 90% of home computer users are idiots? Can you guys make up your mind one way or the other? Either market dominance equals greatness or it doesn't.
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Threads like this make me angry!
It never ceases to amaze me how little it takes to start a flame war between the infants of both Macs and PC's.

Half the people posting in this thread are acting like a bunch of kids at the lunch table screaming about what game is better.

One person actually suggested that Apple products are geared towards the upper class and those types of people take care of their products. What an ignorant thing to say. $200 is "upper class"? I'm doing pretty darn well then! Perhaps this person should go speak to the upper class gentlemen that has a G5 which overheats when playing a game. I'm sure he's taking care of his $2,000 investment.

Bottom line is the Nano is a great product. Once again Apple has released a product that appears to impress the industry with innovation. However, that doesn't make it flawless. Perhaps they did use cheap glass. SO WHAT! They will fix it if there is a problem. It's OK! Apple doesn't make everything perfect regardless of how well their products work for you. Or how much you want them to succeed you'll say any stupid comment on the internet without thinking about the people you are talking to.

We are all consumers of equal value. Why? Because a poor mans money is just as good as a rich mans but a poor man will probably take better care of it so watch your mouth the next time you spout off about the people around you.
Posted by BruceLawrence (90 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I disagree
First generation products can be a re-tooling of a pre-existing product that introduces the news flaws that couldn't be possible due to the makeup of the previous products. This happens with my area, cars, all the time. Company like Nissan will have a good car, like the 1995 Altima, retool it for 1996 and reliability dives. It's back up by 1997 or 98, but still. Here, Apple made a new screen or new protector for it, and it doesn't work in real world conditions. That's what happens to first gen products all the time. Established companies make first gen products all the time, otherwise they wouldn't stay established very long (unless they're the power company, I guess, but even they have to roll new things out all the time).

The fact that Apple's been making gadgets for 20+ years only goes to show that it should know better. There are few excuses for this type of flaw. It's not like they had to rush this to market in order to prevent some competitor from taking it over - Apple has this market cornered. Test it, and then test it again, rather than shoving things out the door so that Jobs can show them off.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Possible problem
The Ars Technica report addresses drop testing and linear compresssion testing (the car and sitting directly on it). The iPod is apparently extremmely well built for that kind of stress. Those test don't address the "front pants pocket" environment though. Items in your front pocket are twisted and bent while sitting--not compressed. Glass is much more easier to break when twisted, and there isn't sufficient room in the case to give the glass a lot of play. There's even a post on flawedmusicplayer regarding this. It's not a "cheap LCD" problem, it's more of a "not enough internal bracing" problem--but it is Apple's problem.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
The iPod Nano is too delicate - you have to protect it.
If you have owned any small electronic device with an LCD sceen
within the last few years then you have learned two things: 1.
LCD screens develop scratches unless protected. and 2. The
smaller the device the more fragile it is. The iPod Nano is not an
exception to these two tenets. Apple's delima is twofold. 1. The
protective skins are not readily available. 2. They have not
cautioned users that the device is prone to scratches unless
protected.

Yes, they may have some material/design flaws since the black
one in particular, the one I own of course, is very prone to
scratches, and there doesn't seem to be any way to remove them
once they start. I bought a small leather business card wallet to
protect it in the short term but it still seems to be getting
scratches-bummer. Then again, there's a reason they call it "the
cutting edge of technology," sometimes there's some blood lost.
I hope that Apple responds quickly and reasonably to these
issues. Thanks for addressing the issue quickly.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Just like the PSP...
When the PSP came out it had a lot of the same complaints about how easy it is to scratch or otherwise marr its pristine, shiny faceplate and screen. Then along came all the protective accessories. It's the same story with the iPod nano--especially the black one like I have: If you want to keep your beautiful tech gadgets shiny and new, you've got to protect them. (At leasy the PSP comes with a cleaning cloth and soft case)
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nano Screen Scratches
As the article stated there may be a batch that is just bad. I just bought mine and barely touch the sides of it when I move it (which is all of about 5 times) because the screen is scratching each time I touch it somehow. I haven't taken it out of the house because I don't have a case and thought I wouldn't be able to even see the screen if it touched anything.

Definitely something wrong.....
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
iPod nano does scratch
I have had my nano one week. In the first day, in which I placed it
only in my shirt pocket with no other items, it began to scratch on
the front surface. As I have a black nano, the scratches are very
visible. I immediately contacted Apple on Apple.com and left a
comment (no reply, of course). But sadly (because otherwise it is a
GREAT toy), the nano is flawed, potentially seriously. I will buy no
more as gifts.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
it's all part of apple's new 'scratch & sniff' marketing strategy.
:)
Posted by Lolo Gecko (131 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ipod smipod, don't any of you guys have real jobs?
:)
Posted by Lolo Gecko (131 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now we know what Apple means by "impossibly small"!
Now we know what Apple means by "impossibly small"! Actually, now I know I won't be trying to buy one used on eBay.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Different plastic types?
Normally (e.g. with cell phones) you'll have a
harder, scratch-resistant plastic covering the
display while the phone body consists of a
softer (but less brittle) plastic. The softer
plastic will scratch far easier, but is much
more resistant to shattering and breakage.

For the Nano, the screen is covered with the
same material as the rest of the player. It's
likely that they used a softer plastic for this
so that people's iPods would be more durable,
but this comes at the price of increased
scratching.

Oh, and for the guy who put it in his pocket:
unless your pockets are made of microfiber
cloth, yes, they will scratch.
Posted by requiem--2008 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.