Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Good Luck With That Broken iPod

The New York Times' Joe Nocera outlines his trials and tribulations when one of his hard-drive enabled iPods broke. The product was out of warranty and Nocera was stuck with little support from Apple and probably faced with having to buy a replacement.

Rob Enderle at the Enderle Group notes that iPods built around a hard drive are so sensitive that "if it takes one shot, that will pretty much kill it." This combined with delicate LCD screens and a non-replaceable battery "were conscious design choices Apple made, some of them having to do with keeping the cost down, while others were done largely for aesthetic reasons."

Enderle said, "If you get two or three years out of a portable device, you're probably doing pretty well." These are things that Apple, and the rest of the tech industry for that matter, don't tell consumers, which leaves some folks feeling betrayed when things fall apart.

Chip Gliedman at Forrester Research said, "Apple has been willing to alienate a certain percentage of its customer base forever, because "Apple thinks it is special."

Will the attitude the tech industry in general and Apple in specific has towards consumers eventually backfire? It will if enough consumers are fed up to take their business elsewhere. Then again, not everyone has access to the New York Times when they have a complaint. So while Nocera will probably see some resolution to his problem at some point, the vast majority of consumers will have to shell out more cash again and again....