As indicated by a handful of MacFixIt readers and numerous posters to Apple's Discussion boards, the iPod nano (or at least some shipped currently units) are highly susceptible to scratches -- though the problem can't be said with certainty to be worse than previous iPod models or similar portable consumer electronic devices.
In the most severe cases of this issue, iPod nano screens become so scratched from what appears to be routine usage that displayed information becomes more difficult to read.
Many users report that the scratches occur when the nano is located in a pocket along with some other abrasive object. Apple Discussions poster Marco writes:
"I know some are saying these are just scratches, get over it. But in another thread I did a scratch test with a necklace, to simulate something you might have in your pocket, against a iPod mini screen and the nano. The screen was not even harmed in the least bit, the nano had (additional) scratches that were easily visible! I know the nano will get scratched, I just don't want a day old iPod to look 6 months old!"Keeping the scratches off
Leave the clear film on In-house at MacFixIt, some staff who have purchased iPod nanos have opted to keep the plastic screen film on their units in light of these reports in lieu (or anticipation) of a third-party case or nano-tube. Doing so may result in less visibility over all, but can keep the screen without scratches as long as necessary.
Using InvisibleShield Meanwhile, Rainy Day magazine has an article describing the usage of a product called InvisibleShield to protect the nano -- with excellent results.
Palm clear screen MacFixIt reader Dave Steinberg reports that the Palm clear screen cover adheres nicely to his nano:
"My black iPod surface also shows scratches after a couple of light used days. I just put a Palm clear screen cover (purchased from Palm) on my unit and is functions perfectly. All you have to do is cut the sheet to fit on the iPod."
Fishing license holder Another reader reports success with inexpensive fishing license holders. Steve Prindle writes:
"To protect the white nano I bought, I found an inexpensive solution at REI, their omniseal fishing license holder, package of three for US$3"
Plexus A few users have recommended the use of Plexus -- a plastic cleaner, protectant and polisher.
John Pent writes:
"I use this stuff on all sorts of plastic (lexan, plexiglas, mylar, etc.), esp. my BlackBerry screen and it makes them very slick ? both less prone to scratching and greatly reducing small visible scratches."
Several retailers carry the product:
- Release notes
- Some units dead-on-arrival
- Scratches: How to protect from and fix
- Cable connection may require more snug fit
- fishing license holders
- Ice Creme from RadTech
- Bloomberg News
- Release notes
- Some units dead-on-arrival
- Scratches: How to protect ...
- Cable connection may requi...
- More from Late-Breakers
Getting scratches off
Black model more susceptible? Some users are reporting that the black iPod nano is more susceptible to scratches than the white model.
Another poster, Shedrock wrote:
"Your best bet is to return it. I purchased mine at a best buy store and it was the black nano. I simple returned it and had a look at a few other black models and they were all scratched up. I eventually settled on a white nano and there are no scratches on it and in my opinion it looks classier than the black. I am also supposed to receive my tubes from Decal Girl today so this will even give it more protection."
MacFixIt reader Finno adds:
"Ordered my black 4GB Nano immediately on launch day, with company name and tag engraved (purchased from the online store).
"Mine was scratched badly after 15 seconds, against a rubber/plastic Bluetooth earpiece. I thought I was sloppy, and was extremely careful the next few hours. No luck, it looked horrible, and it seems to be scratched against my fingers, too."
Steve Leebove corroborates:
"I bought three black nanos when they came out. Two were gifts, and those two people report serious scratching! To the point on one of them where they are having trouble reading it. He put it in his pocket alone, and it appears that did the trick. Both people are very disappointed in how easily the black nano's can scratch. Mine is fine, but that is because i left on the factory plastic cover."
MacFixIt reader David Powers has a theory on why the black iPod nano is so prone to visible scratching:
"The iPod nano uses the same color-in-clear plastic case design as the imac g5. the clear, sharp-cornered outside layer admits light from the sides of the device, which gives the device its attractive glow.
"The problem with using this for a device that's going to be handled is that when the front gets scratched, the light passing through from the sides is diffused through the scratch, 'coloring' the scratch. The side light blends together to become roughly white, so the white interior hides it. But with the black interior, no such luck.
"I'm not sure how they missed this unless all the materials and durability testing was done on white models. if that was the case that might also explain overestimating the scratch resistance of the outer layer."
Apple will replace a limited number of defective screens Apple announced that it would replace a small number of iPod screens that are cracking under inordinately low amounts of pressure.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, an Apple representative said that less than one-tenth of 1 percent of its new iPod nano digital music players have defective screens and will be replaced for free.
The article continues:
"A 'vendor-quality issue' with the nano caused some screens to crack, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said in a phone interview. The problem is 'not a design issue,' he said."
Meanwhile, addressing the scratching issue, Apple's Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller told Macworld that "the screens on the iPod nano are made with the same material that is found in the company?s fourth-generation iPod, which, to date, is complaint free." 'We have received very few calls from customers reporting this problem ? we do not think this is a widespread issue. If customers are concerned about scratching we suggest they use one of the many iPod nano cases to protect their iPod.'