Apple Settles Suit over iPod Batteries

Up to 2 million iPod owners will receive $50 coupons or extended warranties from Apple computer as the result of a class-action settlement. In 2003, eight customers sued Apple Computer, complaining that the portable music device's battery did not last as long as advertised.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

You may see a very slight improvement in your finances if you own an iPod. Up to two million owners of the portable music players may get $50 coupons or extended warranties from Apple Computer. The class-action settlement comes after consumers complained of defective batteries. Here's NPR's Laura Sydell.

LAURA SYDELL reporting:

Eight customers sued Apple Computer in 2003. They said their iPod batteries did not act as advertised. Eric Gibbs is one of their attorneys.

Mr. ERIC GIBBS (Attorney): The batteries actually have a short life and that wasn't disclosed to people at the time they purchased the iPods.

SYDELL: What the consumers were told was that the rechargeable battery would last as long as the iPod and play music continuously for up to 10 hours. But that's not what happened for thousands of people. They complained the battery lasted 18 months or less and that they could only play music for four hours before needing to recharge. To replace the battery, it would cost them $99. Under the settlement, people who purchased an iPod within the last two years could replace it or get a new battery. Those with older iPods could get a $50 certificate or $25 in cash. Attorney Gibbs says he's pleased with the settlement.

Mr. GIBBS: The case was about the batteries failing prematurely. The settlement provides relief to anyone who had a battery that failed prematurely.

SYDELL: What the settlement did not include was an admission by Apple that anything was wrong with the iPod. A California judge must still approve the agreement after an August hearing, which will give affected consumers a chance to air their opinions. Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

INSKEEP: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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