Class action lawsuit launched over iPod Nano scratch marks

Angry iPod Nano owners have filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, against Apple Computer, Inc. The lawsuit, filed by attorneys from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro in Seattle and David P. Meyer & Associates in Columbus, Ohio, on behalf of all Nano owners, charges that the iPod Nano’s LCD screen is too easily scratched. The claim is that under normal use, the screen will become so scratched that it is rendered unreadable, and that Apple was aware of these problems and shipped the Nano anyway, violating “implied and expressed warranties.” The suit asks for “damages in the amount of monies paid for Nanos,” as well as unspecified actual, statutory and punitive damages.

Apple has no official comment on the lawsuit, but representatives from the company have stated that the Nano is made from the same polycarbonate materials as previous models of iPods, and that the scratching problem does not appear to be widespread. The lawsuit claims that the Nano has a thinner coating of polycarbonate resin and is thus more scratchable than previous iPods. Apple had previously admitted to a manufacturing defect with less than one percent of iPod Nanos that made its LCD screen prone to cracking, but this was an unrelated issue and all Nano owners with the defect were offered free replacements. At the time, the issue of scratching was brought up by an Apple representative: If customers are concerned about scratching, we suggest they use one of the many iPod Nano cases that are now becoming available.

Scratching issues are common knowledge to anyone who owns a portable electronic device. My own well-worn iBook has earned hundreds of battle scars during its years of service. However, laptop scratches are merely an aesthetic annoyance, as the screen is protected whenever the unit is closed. The displays on portable players like the iPod offer no such protection. This has fueled the demand for iPod accessories, which are available in a bewildering array of choices, from complex Batman-like belt clips to iPod socks.

Concerns about cracking and scratchable screens have not appeared to have slowed down iPod Nano sales. Apple claims that over a million units of the new player, available in white and black models, were sold in the first 17 days of its availability. For such a small device, the Nano has shown remarkable durability in stress tests.


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