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The advertised battery life on most models is different from the real-world achievable life. For example, the fifth generation 30 GB iPod is advertised as having up to 14 hours of music playback. An MP3.com report stated that this was virtually unachievable under real-life usage conditions, with a writer for MP3.com getting on average less than 8 hours from an iPod.In 2003, class action lawsuits were brought against Apple complaining that the battery charges lasted for shorter lengths of time than stated and that the battery degraded over time. The lawsuits were settled by offering individuals either US$50 store credit or a free battery replacement.
iPod batteries are not designed to be removed or replaced by the user, although some users have been able to open the case themselves, usually following instructions from third-party vendors of iPod replacement batteries. Compounding the problem, Apple initially would not replace worn-out batteries. The official policy was that the customer should buy a refurbished replacement iPod, at a cost almost equivalent to a brand new one. All lithium-ion batteries eventually lose capacity during their lifetime (guidelines are available for prolonging life-span) and this situation led to a market for third-party battery replacement kits.
Apple announced a battery replacement program on 14 November 2003, a week before a high publicity stunt and website by the Neistat Brothers. The initial cost was US$99, and it was lowered to US$59 in 2005. One week later, Apple offered an extended iPod warranty for US$59. For the iPod Nano, soldering tools are needed because the battery is soldered onto the main board. Fifth generation iPods have their battery attached to the backplate with adhesive.
Reliability and durability
iPods have been criticized for their short life-span and fragile hard drives. A 2005 survey conducted on the MacInTouch website found that the iPod line had an average failure rate of 13.7% (although they note that comments from respondents indicate that "the true iPod failure rate may be lower than it appears"). It concluded that some models were more durable than others. In particular, failure rates for iPods employing hard drives was usually above 20% while those with flash memory had a failure rate below 10%, indicating poor hard drive durability. In late 2005, many users complained that the surface of the first generation iPod Nano can become scratched easily, rendering the screen unusable. A class action lawsuit was also filed. Apple initially considered the issue a minor defect, but later began shipping these iPods with protective sleeves.
Allegations of worker exploitation
On 11 June 2006, the British tabloid The Mail on Sunday reported that iPods are mainly manufactured by workers who earn no more than US$50 per month and work 15-hour shifts. Apple investigated the case with independent auditors and found that, while some of the plant's labour practices met Apple's Code of Conduct, others did not: Employees worked over 60 hours a week for 35% of the time, and worked more than six consecutive days for 25% of the time.
Foxconn, Apple's manufacturer, initially denied the abuses, but when an auditing team from Apple found that workers had been working longer hours than were allowed under Chinese law, they promised to prevent workers working more hours than the code allowed. Apple hired a workplace standards auditing company, Verité, and joined the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct Implementation Group to oversee the measures. On 31 December 2006, workers at the Foxconn factory in Longhua, Shenzhen formed a union affiliated with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the Chinese government-approved union umbrella organization. In 2010, a number of workers committed suicide at a Foxconn operations in China. Apple, HP, and others stated that they were investigating the situation. Foxconn guards have been videotaped beating employees. Another employee killed himself in 2009 when an Apple prototype went missing, and claimed in messages to friends, that he had been beaten and interrogated
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