PDA

View Full Version : iPods have 4-year life, says Apple


MacBytes
Jul 27, 2006, 05:34 PM
http://www.macbytes.com/images/bytessig.gif (http://www.macbytes.com)

Category: Apple Hardware
Link: iPods have 4-year life, says Apple (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060727183421)
Description:: none

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by arn

paddy
Jul 27, 2006, 05:38 PM
4 year life! :eek: Are they serious? All the iPods I've had die a month or two outside warranty.

spicyapple
Jul 27, 2006, 05:39 PM
I dropped my 20GB iPod 2G and now every time the hard drive spins up, it makes a high-pitched squeal. The battery is original and I get about 7-8 hours out of it. Onto 3 years it's working well, but once either of those components go, I'll probably just trash it.

hob
Jul 27, 2006, 05:40 PM
umm

my 3G iPod was given to me in December 2003.

Now in mid-2006 the battery is totally extinct.

Still works, to some extent - but not as an iPod!! Only as a music carrying device for my powerbook!

Think I might have to fork out for an ebay DIY battery thing....

Lau
Jul 27, 2006, 05:50 PM
Nonsense. I don't know anyone whose iPod has lasted that long, and I know people who have babied theirs by keeping the plastic on all the way through to one guy whose iPod looked as if it had taken a bullet for him, and then he'd sandpapered it. Everyone's has at least had a battery or a hard drive die on them.

Blue Velvet
Jul 27, 2006, 05:55 PM
Do they say Earth years? No.

They're obviously referring to 4 of the planet Mercury's years.

nagromme
Jul 27, 2006, 06:01 PM
4 years is an average, not a claim that covers every single iPod. And of course, in forums, the people with the dead iPods are the ones who will post--just human nature. Also, the lifetime of a product doesn't necessarily mean the lifetime of a battery: you can put in a new battery, even if not always easy. The need for a new battery isn't the same as a dead iPod that must be chucked. I don't know which Apple means, but I'm guessing they're talking about 4 years average before total failure, not before battery gets weak.

So to be completely inhuman, I will say that my first-version 3rd-gen iPod Photo still works perfectly, and still keeps a good battery charge :) I won't be shocked if it still runs in another 2 years, but I won't expect much battery life at that time.

I think if people knew the failure rates of just about any product they'd be horrified. Electronics especially.

Blue Velvet
Jul 27, 2006, 06:07 PM
4 years is an average...

But if that's so, then there must be those who are getting 6 years or more use from their iPods which I find a little hard to accept.

I think it's just some idealised figure plucked from some kind of mechanical stress-testing routine, similar to how lightbulbs are said to last x thousand hours or so.

...besides, when did the 3rd-gen iPod become an iPod Photo? :confused:

Doctor Q
Jul 27, 2006, 06:08 PM
Regardless of the number, I think it's only proper for Apple to say (admit?) that iPods have a limited lifespan. It's true of practically all electronics, but it's mostly left unspoken by manufacturers and retailers.

For example, when you buy a really cheap printer, they never say "this might last a year or 2 if you take care of it." Instead, they pretend it will last forever -- except when they try to sell you the extended warranty!

When we shop, we should really know the estimated or average expected lifetime of a product, and in fact it's one of the most important attributes we ought to consider... if only we had a way to know what that number is. It doesn't have to be exact. I think it's a law that appliances in the U.S. must include an estimate of energy costs. If only we had the same type of information for product longevity.

Once, a few years back, when I was shopping for a CRT monitor, I found tons of reviews of the models I was considering, but not a single one mentioned how long the tube or display quality might last. When I mentioned this to a friend who is an Apple tech, he told me that one of the models was great looking, but only for about a year, while another model, a bit more expensive to buy, would last me much longer. I bought the longer-lasting one, which cost more but saved me money.

When people compare the sales price of two competing MP3 players, they should be comparing the price per year over its expected lifetime. Otherwise, it's like comparing the prices on two boxes of cornflakes in the supermarket without noticing how many ounces they are.

echosmyron
Jul 27, 2006, 06:10 PM
my 4th generation lasted a year before the battery blew

ppc_michael
Jul 27, 2006, 06:24 PM
I have a 1st Generation iPod. I use it nearly every day. It's still going very strong. Just take good care of it and you can easily get 4 years out of it.

j_maddison
Jul 27, 2006, 06:26 PM
Nonsense. I don't know anyone whose iPod has lasted that long, and I know people who have babied theirs by keeping the plastic on all the way through to one guy whose iPod looked as if it had taken a bullet for him, and then he'd sandpapered it. Everyone's has at least had a battery or a hard drive die on them.

Well you know someone now! I have a 1st gen that still works absolutely fine. I bought it when it was first announced way bac, and its a 10gig model. Its scratched up badly, and the scroll wheel will just spin around because the tension has gone form it, but apart from that it works fine. You still get a few hours of listening time out of it between charges too.

Sure lots of people have had bad experiences, and I'm not going to deny they arent legitimate concerns, but from my own expeirence I can say that I've never had an issue with an Ipod. I've owned three and all worked fine.

Jay

balamw
Jul 27, 2006, 06:27 PM
I wonder if this is a case where soemone is confusing MTBF (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTBF) or MTTF and usable life.

It's not uncommon (for a generally reliable product) for the MTBF to exceed the usable life time for the product. This just means that most of the population of devices will work well until they fail hard. Best represented by the infamous bathtub curve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve). The end of life failures are not generally counted in MTBF/MTTF calculations.

B

G5Unit
Jul 27, 2006, 06:28 PM
I have a 1st Generation iPod. I use it nearly every day. It's still going very strong. Just take good care of it and you can easily get 4 years out of it.

I'm september I will have had my 5gb 1st gen for 4 years got it back in 2002. Still workin strong yet some skips...

Shadow
Jul 27, 2006, 06:30 PM
Yeah, my 3G iPod is still going strong :D!

GoCubsGo
Jul 27, 2006, 06:36 PM
Dang that is odd. I know people still using their 2nd gen.

winmacguy
Jul 27, 2006, 06:37 PM
Do they say Earth years? No.

They're obviously referring to 4 of the planet Mercury's years.
Steve's RDF years I think.;)

j_maddison
Jul 27, 2006, 06:38 PM
is it me or are most people talking about failures and issues with 3rd gen ipods? Could it be the 3rd gen model wasnt as reliable as earlier models?

59031
Jul 27, 2006, 06:41 PM
There is a girl who rides my subway line everday here in NYC that I see every morning on the way in to work and she had an original first generation firewire iPod...still going strong.....

CANEHDN
Jul 27, 2006, 06:50 PM
Why are people surprised? Most personal electronics are built to last for a certain amount of time. Obviously they don't all last that time and can last forever but they don't want them to last forever. This has been going on since personal electronics started showing up.

reyesmac
Jul 27, 2006, 06:50 PM
I have a 1st Generation iPod. I use it nearly every day. It's still going very strong. Just take good care of it and you can easily get 4 years out of it.

Same here, the battery has been replaced with one that lasts 20 hours. It is not used every week and it is still going strong.

mozmac
Jul 27, 2006, 06:50 PM
My 2G iPod is still going strong. I've had it now for four years. The battery gives me about 4 hours of play.

nbs2
Jul 27, 2006, 07:17 PM
hate to echo the young'ns, but my 3G from Sep 03 still give me 6 hours when i take it out and about. since i got my 5G, it doesn't get out much, but still....

zap2
Jul 27, 2006, 07:24 PM
That funny because i have a 1st Gen that works fine(it got a new battery but the old one worked for about 6hrs, the new one says 21 max but i never test it

latourfl
Jul 27, 2006, 07:25 PM
is it me or are most people talking about failures and issues with 3rd gen ipods? Could it be the 3rd gen model wasnt as reliable as earlier models?

I've been using my 3rd generation iPod every day in the past two years (26 months to be exact), and it still works great. Battery life is not as good as it used to be when I bought it, though it still hold enough charge for most bus rides I do. Though this is expected, batteries have a limited number of charge cycles… the good thing is that replacement batteries are cheap now.

ferguldy
Jul 27, 2006, 07:30 PM
Hmm, my 2G is still going on just fine. Not totally sure how long the battery charge would last as mine is usally plugged in but I've never had a hiccup (knock on wood). Let's hope my 5G will last as long as the 2G!

kingcrowing
Jul 27, 2006, 07:31 PM
well I used to work at bestbuy and seriously, like 40-50% of all iPods get returned/exchanged/replaced/repaired at bestbuy, unlike qhat Q said, you pay more for an iPod, get far less features, and get a lower life span. But they are by far the coolest thing around and thats why everyonw has one. I bouht a 10GB 3rd Gen with a Bestbuy warentee, and now I have a 20GB 4th Gen, so thats like 2.5 years and Igot the one I have now by just getting it replaced at bestbuy like 5 times.

nagromme
Jul 27, 2006, 07:34 PM
But if that's so, then there must be those who are getting 6 years or more use from their iPods which I find a little hard to accept.

I think it's just some idealised figure plucked from some kind of mechanical stress-testing routine, similar to how lightbulbs are said to last x thousand hours or so.

I'm sure accelerated testing IS what the figure comes from. Where else, since currently-shipping iPods can't possibly have reached 4 years :) Throw an iPod in a wood chipper and call each second a year. That's how I would test.

...besides, when did the 3rd-gen iPod become an iPod Photo? :confused:
You're right, my 2-year-old iPod Photo is only one generation old--and the current gen is the 5th gen. So I have a 4th-gen. I subtracted 2 gens = 2 years without thinking :)

well I used to work at bestbuy and seriously, like 40-50% of all iPods get returned/exchanged/replaced/repaired at bestbuy,
Assuming 40-50% is hard data rather than just an impression of "a lot," I have to wonder: Of all the reasons people might have something "returned/exchanged/replaced/repaired," what percentage of those were "replaced/repaired" rather than just changing their mind about a costly item?

balamw
Jul 27, 2006, 07:39 PM
I'm sure accelerated testing IS what the figure comes from. Where else, since currently-shipping iPods can't possibly have reached 4 years :)
Given the huge numbers of iPods sold, you can actually get pretty decent statistics from the field.

You get the failure rate by (#failures)/(hours of operation), and then invert that to an MTBF. (You'd probably have to make some assumptions about the usage patterns, though for the failed units they can probably pull some stats from the system itself).

B

hulugu
Jul 27, 2006, 07:55 PM
My 2G 10Gig iPod is still going strong with a new battery and I've used it nearly everyday, including camping trips, gym climbing, and a trip across Europe.
But, I also have a TiBook I bought in 2001 that still works too, so maybe I'm just especially kind to my electronics.

Chef Medeski
Jul 27, 2006, 07:57 PM
Hah.... 5% break rate.

I've had 5 iPods but only bought two. My first one broke two times, once hard drive the other time screen. My 5G's battery crapped out on warranty so its been switched out too. So.... that would be a 3/5 break rate... or 60% and none of them have been had for more than 4 months.

Hah...5%

aquajet
Jul 27, 2006, 07:59 PM
I replaced the battery in my 3G 20gig last year and it works better than new. Hopefully, it'll go longer than four years. It is more than sufficient for my current needs, and likely so for many years to come.

hulugu
Jul 27, 2006, 08:00 PM
well I used to work at bestbuy and seriously, like 40-50% of all iPods get returned/exchanged/replaced/repaired at bestbuy, unlike qhat Q said, you pay more for an iPod, get far less features, and get a lower life span. But they are by far the coolest thing around and thats why everyonw has one. I bouht a 10GB 3rd Gen with a Bestbuy warentee, and now I have a 20GB 4th Gen, so thats like 2.5 years and Igot the one I have now by just getting it replaced at bestbuy like 5 times.

That's just an element of the "Best Buy Suckage Field," any product bought at Best Buy will be invariably worse than if bought at another store. Thus, iPods from the Apple Store are indestructible and made of precious metals while iPods from Best Buy are more likely to flip out and explode or drink all your beer.
:D

z00y0rk
Jul 27, 2006, 08:21 PM
I have a second generation iPod 10GB and it never had a battery replacement. Works perfectly!! I did however get an iPod 4th Gen. Just because i was tired of carrying around the brick :P

Mal
Jul 27, 2006, 08:33 PM
I have some questions for all those who are complaining about how their iPods haven't lasted: How do you treat them? Are they kept in a case? Are they tossed into a bag or kept in a pocket where they bump into things? Do you regularly cycle the batteries?

All of those things and many other things you can do or not do will affect their life, and many are things most people don't consider, but in the case of post #3 and others, I don't think you can fault Apple or the iPod if it's "dropped" and then malfunctions later (I know you weren't complaining in post #3, just making a point).

I have a 1st gen iPod that I got used with scratches already on it, but I took good care of it, though I did drop it once, and it works flawlessly except that the battery needs to be replaced (but it's way over the 4 years). I had a 3rd Gen that I sold to a friend which still runs flawlessly, AFAIK, again with a new battery, but that was all before I understood the mechanics of charging batteries properly. I also have a 4th Gen that is having issues after 2 years. Am I faulting Apple? No. It's got a dent in the case that clearly shows that something hit it hard enough in the general vicinity of the hard drive, and when it starts getting bad sectors on the drive and possibly having trouble with internal connections, I know exactly who's at fault.

Bottom line: treat it well, and maybe you'll realize that the 5% failure rate probably accounted somewhat for mistreated iPods (though not entirely, they'd be foolish to count a badly beaten iPod as a failed iPod, because that's not a hardware lifespan issue).

jW

spicyapple
Jul 27, 2006, 08:50 PM
How do you treat them? Are they kept in a case?
I personally think iPod cases of ANY kind are totally overrated. I purchased an iSkin for my 2G iPod and it ended up creating more scratches than without it. After a while, scratches aren't really all that to wallow much consternation over so I enjoy her as she was meant to be enjoyed -- undressed and all naked! :eek: ;) :D

BrianMojo
Jul 27, 2006, 09:27 PM
Nonsense. I don't know anyone whose iPod has lasted that long, and I know people who have babied theirs by keeping the plastic on all the way through to one guy whose iPod looked as if it had taken a bullet for him, and then he'd sandpapered it. Everyone's has at least had a battery or a hard drive die on them.

I'm still using my 1st gen iPod. I haven't babied it, in fact I've used it quite alot as I left high school and am now entering my senior year in college. The battery generally needs to be charged either the day of or day before use, but other than that I haven't had any problems.

I must be one of the lucky ones.

nem3015
Jul 27, 2006, 10:11 PM
Lets put it straight... 4 years at the current technology change rate is like 40 in real life, so after 4 years there will be and ultra cool advanced new iPod with 32,000 new features that will tickle your wallet so bad that you will run at 3 in the morning to the next Apple store (or online) to get one. After that the old one will be inherited by your younger sister/brother or dad/mom in the besta case scenario or simply forgot in a drawer in your desk and will be soon in the oblivion. :D

nem3015
Jul 27, 2006, 10:17 PM
I personally think iPod cases of ANY kind are totally overrated. I purchased an iSkin for my 2G iPod and it ended up creating more scratches than without it. After a while, scratches aren't really all that to wallow much consternation over so I enjoy her as she was meant to be enjoyed -- undressed and all naked! :eek: ;) :D

In what part of the creation process an iPod is defined as female gender? :D

solvs
Jul 27, 2006, 10:30 PM
I have a shuffle. The thing is practically indestructible. Haven't had any problems with it once I started using better headphones. My mini was cool too, but I sold it because I wasn't using it at the time. I miss those. Can't speak for anyone else with regular iPods, but I still hope the next gen is practically bullet proof with better batteries.

brepublican
Jul 27, 2006, 11:26 PM
There is a girl who rides my subway line everday here in NYC that I see every morning on the way in to work and she had an original first generation firewire iPod...still going strong.....
Well. Are you gonna talk to her or what?? :confused:

C'mon, you can do it :)

My 4G iPod lasted me less than 8 months. Then it got stolen. *****!

iJon
Jul 27, 2006, 11:27 PM
I have a 1st Generation iPod. I use it nearly every day. It's still going very strong. Just take good care of it and you can easily get 4 years out of it.
True but the original iPods were built like tanks. That's cause they were new and Apple wasn't having to shell out 14 million of them a quarter. My original still works to this day and excellent battery life to top it off. You'd be hard pressed to find the same quality in a 5G if you ask me.

jon

semicharmed
Jul 28, 2006, 11:59 AM
I have a 15 gig 3G, and the batter life is still around 7-8 hours, it's just hitting the three year mark.
I also had a shuffle (got taken from my desk at the office) and that thing was indestructible. Survived two falls into a lake and still worked fine.

bowens
Jul 28, 2006, 12:30 PM
My 4G iPod lasted me less than 8 months. Then it got stolen. *****!
So really you don't know how long it lasted. It sucks, but somewhere somebody is enjoying your iPod.

spicyapple
Jul 28, 2006, 02:20 PM
Apparently, it's a misquote. Apple meant to say "for years", not "four years". :o

jholzner
Jul 28, 2006, 02:39 PM
Apparently, it's a misquote. Apple meant to say "for years", not "four years". :o

Not only did they mean to say "for years" that's what they said. Stupid English language :p

ColoJohnBoy
Jul 28, 2006, 02:48 PM
I have one of the original iPod minis (green) and it still works every bit as well as it did when first I got it. A couple dents on the edges, a few minor scratches, and the battery lasts only about 4-6 hours, but it still works incredibly well.

hulugu
Jul 28, 2006, 03:22 PM
Apparently, it's a misquote. Apple meant to say "for years", not "four years". :o

Yep, here's the link (http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1919) from another thread. Ooops.

cwedl
Jul 28, 2006, 03:24 PM
My 15Gb iPod from April 2003 is still running well! the battery lasts for ages, but I have recently decommisioned it to make way for a 30Gb Video iPod.:)

Little Endian
Jul 29, 2006, 11:38 AM
4 years is a long time for an ipod to last. I have owned 8 ipods since 2001, 3 ipods have failed on me since then. Of those three ipods that failed two were mini's that both failed in less than 6 months but thats because they were dropped multiple times and fortunately both were replaced by Applecare. I was really shocked that Apple replaced the last mini I sent in because it was pretty obvious that it got dropped really really hard.

The third ipod to have failed on me was a 4G 40GB ipod that died after just 13 months due to HD failure oddly this one was dropped only once and was in an iskin case when dropped. Unfortunately this one had no extended warranty on it.

The longest I ipod I have owned lasted exactly 2 years and that was a 2G 10GB ipod. It was still going very strong after 2 years and still did an acceptable 6 hours of battery life and was used and abused every day. This ipod could have lasted another year or more but I sabotaged it 1 day before it's 2 year birthday so I could get a new 4G ipod for free via CompUSA's TAP warranty.

Really though ipods last about as long as cell phones do which isn't that surprising as both are portable electronic devices that are prone to abuse. I judge ipod life span the same way as I do for cell phones. A cell phone that lasts me only a year is crap while I consider one that lasts me a couple of years average and one that lasts three years is really good. A cell phone that lasts 4 years is a Tank or was never really used at all. Besides after 4 years an ipod or a cell phone would be horribly obsolete.

mkrishnan
Jul 29, 2006, 12:06 PM
Apparently, it's a misquote. Apple meant to say "for years", not "four years". :o

It is kind of strange that the heading seemed to be a very specific claim that was never really discussed again in the article. :eek: :rolleyes:

Things like failure rates and equipment lifetimes are hard to discuss because of how few people in the general population understand statistics even remotely well... So my iPod is about 2.5 years old, and doing fine. If it *did* actually only last four years, I don't think I would be displeased -- either from a cost perspective (a $270 device lasting four years is fine with me) or from an expectation perspective (I have three small portable electronic devices -- my phone, my iPod, and my PDA.... I don't really expect any of them to last much more than four years... I certainly replace my cell every three years or so -- I just got my fourth one. I am on my second PDA, because I was an idiot and dropped my first one a week after buying it and killed the screen... six years ago. I've had this one for about a year, but I use it not so often).

The 5% failure rate statistic is missing a piece of data -- it can't be interpreted unless the duration is indicated. 5% per year is very believable to me (excluding battery failure, which obviously is not going to be consistent year over year). But of course, isn't the asymptotic failure rate of any electronic device close to 100%?

At 5% per year, approximately 80% of iPods will be working after four years. And I'm sure you will see a handful of iPods that last 15 years. And then some will die in two weeks. It's just the way it works.

ddrueckhammer
Jul 31, 2006, 12:19 AM
My 4G iPod died after 1-year. (HD died) The funny thing is, I babied it, always in case, never dropped it etc...Since then, I won't buy a hard drive based iPod again. Also, is it just me or do other manufacturers get better battery-life out of their products. They really need to make a way for users to change batteries irregardless of aestetics. My DS Lite is beautiful and has user replaceable batteries, why not iPods? I love iPods but c'mon they are really not too durable at all.

dejo
Jul 31, 2006, 04:16 PM
Apple denies 'four years' iPod report, clarifies 'for years' (http://ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/apple-denies-four-years-ipod-report-clarifies-for-years/)