Problems surfacing with iPod Nano screen

Some owners say the screen is too easily scratched. Others say their screens cracked or failed unexplicably.

Some owners of Apple Computer's new "impossibly small" iPod Nano are starting to wonder if the device is also impossibly delicate.

The most widespread complaint about the otherwise seems to be that the color display screen gets scratched extremely easily.

Nano owner Brian Cason posted one of 250-some threads in response to a recent post on Apple's discussion board about screen scratching.

"I don't really care if the case on my Nano gets scratched but my screen has scratched up so badly that all the images are starting to become distorted," Cason wrote, echoing the sentiment of many others in the discussion. "I have only carried it in my small pocket in my shorts and nothing is in there to scratch it. I still can't figure how the screen looks like it has been rubbed with sandpaper when the entire time it has been safe in my pocket (with absolutely no items)."

But this week, several users also started complaining about screens cracking, or failing, inexplicably. Nano owner Matthew Peterson set up the site flawedmusicplayer.com (formerly ipodnanoflaw.com) to tell the story about how his Nano screen shattered after just four days, to see if others have had the same problem, and to suggest that Apple recall the Nano and use a stronger screen product.

"It is way too fragile. Apple markets it in a pocket. Hell, Steve Jobs himself pulls it out of his when he announces it," wrote Peterson, who himself was smitten with the Nano upon its release. "It was in my pocket as I was walking and I sat down. No, I didn't sit on it."

An Apple official was not immediately available for comment on the alleged problems with Nano screens.

Some Nano owners have written to flawedmusicplayer.com, challenging its premise and arguing that they haven't had any problems with their screens. They chalk problems up to user abuse and reference an Ars Technica report that shows the Nano holds up to extreme circumstances.

Several, however, e-mailed with similar screen failures and debated whether the problem is caused by a design flaw or poor manufacturing, possibly just in an isolated batch.

iPodnn pointed out that at least one iPod repair company, iPodResQ, has temporarily raised the price of Nano LCD repair "due to LCD availability and overwhelming demand."

Last June, Apple agreed to settle several class action suits over the battery life of earlier iPod models, offering extended service warranties and $50 store credits to consumers who lodged complaints.

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