iPod's 'dirty secret' wins Web fans

Irked by the difficulty and expense of replacing the dead batteries in their iPod, two filmmakers have embarked on an 'antiadvertising' Net campaign.

Two filmmakers are getting attention around the Net for an "antiadvertising" project aimed at protesting what they call the "dirty secret" of the iPod music player--its battery life.

Brothers Casey and Van Neistat, who collaborate on video projects using Mac editing software, said they were told by a technical support representative at Apple Computer that the cost to replace the dead battery in an 18-month-old iPod would be $255--comparable to the cost of a new device. Irked at what seemed to be the early obsolescence of the music player, the brothers trekked around New York City stenciling the words "iPod's unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months" on all the iPod posters they could find.

Now the Neistats claim that the video they created of their exploits is getting 50,000 hits a day on the Web site Ipodsdirtysecret.com. As of Wednesday afternoon, the site's traffic counter indicated it had seen more than 194,000 visitors.

As it turns out, it's possible to replace the battery for as little as $49 using third-party kits. Apple itself offers a battery-replacement service for about $106 including mailing, with a 90-day guarantee on materials and workmanship. Apple's program was introduced only in the past two weeks.

Other iPod users have reported that the device's battery life diminishes with use, as is common for many rechargeable batteries. Unlike standard disposable batteries, the rechargeable power supplies used in the iPod and other high-tech gadgets do not come in a standard design. Replacing the battery involves a tricky process of dismantling the gadget, but third parties offer this service for around $70.

More information on the iPod Battery Replacement Program is available from Apple's technical support Web site.

Matthew Broersma of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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