Wednesday, October 05, 2005

On real-life useage

So, The Reg is discussing the iPod Nano's scratch problem. Several of the letters state that once you've bought a $200 gadget, you really ought to buy a case for it and not keep it in your pocket.

I'm sorry? The iPod is supposed to be a portable music player, by definition a device I carry with me; and the Nano in particular is very small, so its selling point is one's ability to carry it in even the smallest pocket.

So why the hell is it considered appropriate for the manufacturer to make the case so scratch-sensitive? There are only two possible explanations as to why this happened: either the engineers were incompetent, or the product was engineered down to a price.

The most appalling thing about this isn't Apple's behaviour, but the lemmings that defend it. I've owned two portable music devices, plus countless mobile phones and other screen-equipped devices, and have not used cases with any of them. My Nomad Zen - aluminium body over a magnesium frame - was for all intents and purposes indestructible, and believe me, I've tried. My Archos Gmini 400 has been almost as faultless. Both cost me around $300, and it's a lot more money to me than to the average American (or Brit for that matter).

Defending obviously crap build quality with arguments like "you should love and cherish your precious iPod" are the height of fanaticism, and the reason why Apple's products are overpriced, inferior garbage.

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