Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

iPod’s Dirty Secret

I’ve started reading Dan Gillmor a bit more lately, and last night he linked to iPod’s Dirty Secret, a video which tells the story of an 18-month-old iPod with a dead battery.
Of course, you may remember I had a 9-month-old laptop with a dead battery but I’ll put that down to it being a cheap Ni-MH battery and the fact that I used it in a way that didn’t insure maximum battery life. To make batteries last longer, particularly the Lithium Ion batteries you get in most decent laptops and better mobile phones (like all Nokia phones), you need to go through several full recharge cycles from time to time – basically, running the device until the battery is flat, switching it off, charging it up fully, switching it on, running it down, and so on for a few times. That should make your batteries last longer.
I have no idea what battery the iPod has – I’d expect it to be Li-Ion due to the high price of themiPods do use Li-Ion batteries, which are more expensive than rechargeable ni_MH batteries, but asking over $250 for a new battery is madness, especially considering that most other battery powered devices have easily replacable batteries. You can buy new Nokia batteries quite cheaply from a wide range of places, and eBay is chock full of them.
One of the commenters on Dan’s article said His bandwidth charges are probably going to be higher then buying a new G5.. It’s a fair point, but I’d be less inclined to buy an iPod if I knew that in 18 months the battery would be dead and I’d need to spend another couple of hundred bucks on a new one.
That said, sells batteries for both the old and new iPod models for $49 and US AC adaptors that let you plug it in to the mains instead of your computer, although the latter would only be any good if you’re in reach of a power socket, I suppose.
On the subject of iPods, Ryan is one of a number of bloggers to have linked to this Wired article about jacking into iPods. It sounds violent, but actually you just exchange headphones jacks briefly with another iPod user in the street to see what they’re listening to. But as Ryan says, If I were to walk up to someone and try to plug into their iPod they might think I was trying to steal it or something.. I think I’d get much the same reaction in Bradford.
And finally an interesting fact: I’ve never actually seen an iPod outside a shop. I don’t know anyone who has one and have never seen anyone listen to one out on the street. I’m guessing they’re less popular in Blighty than in the US.


  1. I’ve seen a fair few people wandering around Edinburgh listening to their iPods. I find that they’re easy to spot because of the white phones. Haven’t felt the need to “jack into” and find out what they’re listening to though. I have something similar to an iPod – a Creative Jukebox Zen – and I wouldn’t be without it for the world.

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