Last month, in October 2010, the hard drive on my iPod died. I bought that iPod in January 2009, which means I got about 20 months of service out of it.
In January 2009 I bought that iPod because the hard drive on my previous iPod died. That iPod gave me 27 months of service.
Both times, the hard drives failed without my having dropped or damaged the device. I swear this is true. I definitely used those iPods every day, but I didn't mangle them and both times I had not had any tragic accidents with them recently.
Each of those iPods cost about $250. As a consumer, I feel that a single-purpose music-playing device which costs $250 from the market leader should last longer than two years. I feel that such a device, if not dropped or damaged, should last approximately ten years or more. My single-purpose music-playing devices from the 1980s (portable cassette players) still work, lo these 25 years later.
Therefore I was very dissatisfied with the low quality of Apple iPods. They do not last a long time; they are not worth the cost. If a consumer wants to buy a device which will last only 500 days, then that device should cost about thirty dollars.
Tangentially, I replaced the second iPod with a music player from a different manufacturer. Although the low quality of iPods was part of my decision, the overwhelming motivator was that Apple wanted to force me to use their branded video cables, which cost literally 80,000% more than non-branded video cables. The video cables I bought for my first iPod would not work with the second iPod due to intentional meddling by Apple.
On the day I bought my second iPod, video cables for the first iPod were available on Amazon for six cents -- yes, literally six cents. But, cables from Apple, the only cables which would work with the second iPod, cost $49.99. Therefore, plainly at least $49.93 of the $49.99 cost, which is 99.9%, was nothing but pure gravy profit for Apple. This corporate behavior is egregiously anti-consumer and made me feel like a chump. Although iPods have a nice interface and integrate nicely with desktop computers, I cannot, will not, and did not forgive Apple for making me feel like a chump. I resolved on that day that I was an ex-Apple customer, having been a loyal customer for fifteen years since my first LCIII. That iPod was the last Apple device I bought, and when it recently died I did not even consider replacing it with an Apple product.
Apple iPod devices are low-quality devices which last only a fraction of the time they should last. They are outrageously overpriced, and once purchased come with maddening restrictions on which peripherals they will work with. They fail without warning and without being damaged. Apple iPods are bad devices. People should not buy iPods.