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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.