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Friday, February 03, 2006, 02:50 pm PT (05:50 pm ET)

Apple continues to repair iPod nano screens free-of-charge

Apple Computer, which last year said inexplicable cracks in the displays of its iPod nano digital music players were an isolated issue, continues this year to repair such damages free-of-charge and has instructed its partners to do the same.

In a message last week to its service providers in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, the company said any customer reporting that their iPod nano's screen had cracked should have their repairs processed as "covered repairs."

"The AppleCare Repair Center will also be processing such repairs as covered repairs," the company added. This means iPod nano owners with cracked displays should be able to contact AppleCare via telephone to arrange for their players to be serviced under warranty.

In October, Apple responded to customer complaints about inexplicable cracks in the iPod nano's display, saying the issue was an isolated one.

"This is a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in a small number of units," the company said. "Our figures show this issue has affected less than 1/10 of 1 per cent of the total iPod nano units that we've shipped. It is not a design issue."

It's unclear if Apple's decision to continue replacing cracked iPod nano screens stems purely from the initial vendor quality problem or if it is a result of an ongoing issue with the screens. However, Apple's recent note to service providers appears to imply the latter.

Meanwhile, Apple's fifth-generation video iPods appear to be far less problematic. Following the release of the player in October, AppleInsider reported that Apple began capturing for evaluation any fifth-generation iPods that experience hardware failure, including issues excluded from the company's warranty terms. Users with problematic players received replacements with no questions asked.

Since that time, no major problems have surfaced and on January 13th, Apple officially discontinued the fifth-generation iPod evaluation program. The company will now replace only those fifth-generation iPods with issues pursuant to warranty eligibility.