A company representative said that the issue was a manufacturing, rather than a design problem, and said it affected less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all the Nanos that have shipped so far.
"This is a real, but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in a small number of units," the representative said. "Any user with a defective screen should contact AppleCare (the company's customer service unit) and we will replace it for free."
However, the representative said that the screen-cracking issue is separate from reports that the slim new music player is more easily scratched than prior models.about both issues surfaced shortly after Apple earlier this month.
"A few vocal customers are saying their Nano is more susceptible to scratching than prior iPods," the Apple representative said. Apple said the Nano is made of the same polycarbonate plastic as the fourth-generation iPod and said it does not believe the scratching problem is widespread.
"If customers are concerned about scratching, we suggest they use one of the many iPod Nano cases that are now becoming available," the representative said.
Matthew Peterson, a Nano owner who posted a Web site complaining about the problem said he is "very delighted to see Apple take this issue seriously."
"It is sad that it took a Web site and a lot of publicity before they finally investigated, but at least future Nano users with the same problem I had will not be subjected to the same treatment that I was," Peterson said in an update to his site. "This was a real issue, and most people tried to ignore it. I know a lot of people are going to complain that they still have to spend extra money on a case to prevent scratching."
Earlier this year, Applerelated to the battery life of earlier iPod models, offering credits and extended warranties to those who experienced battery issues.