The Problem with Recalls

Photo: kalleboo

This week, Apple announced that it will be recalling the first-generation iPod Nano.

I happen to have one, and it’s been working without a hitch since 2006. I’ve never had an incentive to replace it for a few key reasons: I think it’s aesthetically pleasing, storage space isn’t a problem for me, and battery life isn’t a problem either — I use it on my daily commute. I also prefer buttons to touch screens.

But after seeing photos of a melting iPod due to the battery problem, I’m inclined to take part. Especially after I learned I’d be getting the same product, just new and without the fear of fire.

Here’s the hidden cost of a recall, though: Apple will send the new product to me 6 to 8 weeks after they’ve received my old one. That’s more than two months that I’m expected to live without a device I use every day. That cost is far greater to me than the $129 I’d pay for a new iPod. With so many Apple stores in the world, why not just let people take their recalled device into a store for an immediate replacement? But then again, this probably works out better for Apple: I’ll be buying a new iPod, and Mom will get the recall replacement in her Christmas stocking.


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  1. Tameson says:

    Now your Mom knows what she’s getting for Christmas – way to spoil the surprise ;0)

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  2. David moore says:

    Dnt you think that is what apple is counting on a majority of the users to do? Why else would they make in a mail process that 6 to 8 weeks, instead of either replacing it in store as you mentioned or letting trade that device in for a newer similar model.

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  3. Rick Germain says:

    Let’s not forget the additional cost of reloading all your content on the replacement iPod. I may be unusual but I have content on my iPod Touch that I did not load via iTunes.

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  4. Ken Arromdee says:

    The obvious solution is to go out and buy a $25 off-brand MP3 player and use it until you get the ipod back. There is a net cost to using the off-brand player instead of the ipod (since it’s not as good as an ipod), but the cost, even taking the $25 into account, may be less than the cost of doing without for two months. (Of course, if you use the off-brand player forever, the cost will build up to the point where you’d be better off buying a new ipod, but that’s different.)

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    • qtip says:

      I don’t think Apple has enough of these in stock in every store to support the proposals in these comments…there are many capacities and multiple colors.

      My understanding is that you all ship your old ones to Apple, Apple ships them to an outsourced refurbishing company, the company replaces the battery and front/back covers, then sends them back to owners (you won’t get the same one back).

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