Apple Computer is facing yet another lawsuit that alleges that the colorful screen on the popular iPod Nano music player is prone to scratches that make the display unreadable.
“This is marketed as a beautiful, sleek device, which it is, but that feature is completely gone after a few weeks of using it,” said Harvey Rosenfield, an attorney who filed the latest complaint late Thursday in a US Superior Court. “If (Apple chief executive) Steve Jobs can pull it out of his pocket, we should be able to pull it out of our pockets without it being ruined,” he said.
The suit, which is seeking class-action status, wants Apple to recall and replace all affected iPod Nanos. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to respond, saying the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
The 19-page complaint is the 13th suit filed against the Cupertino company since Jobs introduced the tiny music player by pulling it out of the coin pocket of his blue jeans during Apple’s special event in September. But shortly after iPod Nanos hit the market, consumer complaints charging the screens were easily scratched during normal use started appearing on various Web sites.
Apple denied there is any design flaw, although the company acknowledged separately in September that a tiny percentage — one-tenth of 1 percent of iPod Nanos shipped had manufacturing problems that resulted in a defective screen that could potentially crack. Apple offered to replace those units and asked affected customers to contact AppleCare, the firm’s customer service unit.
But as for the scratches, Apple said, the Nano has the same type of plastic as previous iPods, which posed no widespread problems in the past. That didn’t stop the lawsuits. According to Apple’s latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a dozen lawsuits were filed between Oct. 19 and Jan. 9 in California, New York, New Jersey and Louisiana as well as Montreal and Ontario in Canada.
Despite such complaints, iPod sales have been soaring. In the past quarter that covered the Christmas holidays, Apple sold 14 million iPods; analysts say they believe iPod Nano is the most popular model.