Is the iPod Good Design?
While I'm pointing out Apple's flaws, here's another one. Contrary to what I said in the paperback edition of The Substance of Style, I no longer think the iPod qualifies as good design. It's gorgeous and tactile, and the software interface is excellent--aesthetic and functional qualities lacking in most electronic products--but Apple has never been much good at the physical side of design. If only they didn't have to actually make things. In this case, the batteries are the problem. They're beyond terrible, and Apple won't replace them. My original iPod lasted about a year before the battery died and I had to throw it out. Worse, my iPod Mini has never really held a charge, except for the day it spent in the Apple Store.
And I'm not alone. Here's a protest video, and here's a non-Apple page of FAQ on the problem. Unlike many iPod users, I'm fairly environmentally insensitive and don't mind the disposable approach per se. But, given the price of the product, it should last a lot longer. For now, I'm sticking to plugging my Sony earbuds into my computer.