A product as wildly successful as the iPod inevitably produces a few bad Apples. Anecdotal evidence of consumer unhappiness like this British newspaper report
are common. Then again, so is evidence of consumer happiness, as in my torture test
of an iPod case—the nano inside it survived repeated abuse. The only reports that should be taken seriously are those involving enough people to be statistically meaningful. That's why this survey
from MacInTouch is compelling, if not exactly conclusive. It covers more than 4000 users and nearly 9000 iPods in the field. Please note that the methodology is loose. Among other things, it doesn't factor in time, and you know everything fails eventually. The good news for nano owners is that flash-based players, not surprisingly, are more reliable. In fact I'm rather pleased to discover my 2GB nano is twice as reliable as the 4GB (now I can stop feeling inferior). The bad news is that hard-drive players are more failure-prone, though the newer video models do quite well. The good news about the bad news is that the hard drive may be not dead but merely disconnected
. For safety
reasons, our lawyers would probably have me add, have a qualified service person do the work.