Cook Computing

iPod Nano Problems

September 26, 2005 Written by Charles Cook

I was planning to buy an iPod Nano but I'm now waiting for the second version. The first doubts came when scratches were mentioned a couple of weeks ago on Tech Ronin:

By the way, my local Apple store has a whole table with about 20 nanos heavily wired for people to play with. You should see the scratching on the screens of those things. They're as bad as my 3G iPod got. I wonder how they've managed to get that scratched just being looked at even by a lot of people?

Now discussion of the over-delicate screen is everywhere. I just read an article in the Times which mentioned the issue.

What are the odds that engineers at Apple knew this was a problem but their views never made it up the management chain? I've seen that happen several times in my career. Can internal blogging open up communication? Maybe, but there would still be the issue that being the bearer of bad news can be career limiting.

Maybe Apple is structured so that people with first-hand experience of issues have a voice? But that leaves the problem of how they could ship something with such an obvious flaw. Was there no field testing? I once bought a pair of running shoes which initially caused blistering round the heel. It was a well-known problem, mentioned on websites and mailing lists. Previous and subsequent versions of that model were fine. Again the company must have designed and produced those shoes without any realistic field testing. Its too late to fix problems when the product has shipped. The damage has been done.