Anyone who's handled an iPod has probably noticed that one of the things that makes the industrial design of the iPod so special is that there are so many smooth lines and surfaces, no door, slots, or openings other than the bare necessities needed for syncing and headphones.
This kind of sleek, high-end design is a hallmark of Apple products. But, while it's user pleasing, it's not always user friendly. That's because this kind of design makes it very hard for the average user to replace the iPod battery. As a result, when an iPod’s battery dies, sometimes that’s the end of the iPod.
And maybe that’s the point. But maybe not. Which leads to the question: why are iPod batteries not user-replaceable?
The batteries of many other consumer electronics – phones, laptops – can be replaced by their users. And this is generally a good thing. After all, it would be pretty frustrating if you had to buy a new laptop, instead of a new battery, when the old battery died.
But Apple hasn’t taken this approach with iPod batteries. Instead, it’s locked batteries inside iPod cases and made it hard for the average user to change them.
One reason for this decision may be industrial design. Apple is known for creating distinctive, appealing products and having a smooth, single-piece backing to iPods is one way that these players stand out from the pack. But in doing so, they sacrifice a way for users to replace dead or dying batteries because the back isn’t easily openable.
To make the iPod battery user replaceable, the iPod’s industrial design would have to be less slick, less special. Some users might make that trade, but Apple – known in some quarters for being stubborn – isn’t ready to do the same.
To Force New Purchases
More cynical observers see another reason for making iPod batteries not easily replaceable: to force new purchases. The thinking goes like this: Apple wants to sell more iPods and if it can spur some number of users to a buy a new iPod every 1-3 years as their batteries fail, all the better for them.
There’s no evidence that this is true, of course, but it’s not entirely out of the realm of the kind of planning companies have historically engaged in (the term planned obsolescence exists for a reason).
Ways to Replace iPod Batteries
Just because the iPod battery isn’t easily replaceable by users doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Handy users can replace the battery themselves. Others can hire companies to do it. Either way, if your iPod battery is dying, that doesn’t mean the end of your iPod – unless you’re looking to upgrade, of course.