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Wednesday, October 26, 2005, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Apple to replace any 5G iPods that exhibit hardware failure

In an effort to improve both customer satisfaction and the quality of its music players, Apple in some countries will replace any fifth-generation iPod (video) player that exhibit signs of hardware failure, with little-to-no questions asked.

In a message to its channel partners this week, the iPod maker told authorized service providers in Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific to replace fifth-generation iPod products that exhibit "any type of hardware failure," including "those that would normally be classified as abuse."

"For a short period of time, Apple will be evaluating all forms of hardware failure on the recently announced fifth-generation iPod," the company said. Nowhere in the message did Apple indicate that there were any known or serious issues currently effecting the players. Instead, the company's move appears to be a preemptive measure.

Over the last month, Apple has been the recipient of complaints, negative media attention, and and a class action lawsuit as a result of problems associated with its ultra-thin iPod nano players. Customers argue that the protective coating on the players has a tendency to become scratched or marred to the point where information on the screen becomes illegible.

Last week, customers upset about the iPod nano issues filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, demanding their money back plus a share of the company’s profits.

Introduced just last month, the nano is available in 2GB and 4GB capacities for $199 and $249, but does not ship standard with any protective casing. While Apple offers a set of iPod nano protective tubes for $29, the accessory was on backorder during the first month the player was available.

As a result of problems with the nano, Apple now ships a standard soft protective sleeve with each fifth-generation iPod video player that it sells. The company is also expected to include a standard protective casing with future revisions to the iPod nano.