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Apple to Help Replace Batteries in Early IPods

From Associated Press

Apple Computer Inc. will help pay to replace defective batteries in as many as 1.3 million iPod music players after a judge approved the settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.

The suit claimed that Apple failed to disclose a flaw of the battery used in the company’s first three iPod models. The rechargeable battery, which was not designed to be replaced, was advertised to last eight hours between charges. But users complained that play time gradually decreased after months of use.

Under the settlement approved last week by San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman, customers who bought iPod’s first two models will be entitled to either $25 in cash or a $50 credit at an Apple store. Or, if they paid Apple to repair an iPod battery, the company must refund half of the replacement cost. Those who own iPod’s third model will be entitled to a free replacement battery if it fails.

“When people were paying $250 to $500 for this, they deserve to know its limitations,” said Steve Williams, lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the suit, which began in December 2003.

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The settlement has an estimated minimum value of about $15 million, Williams said.

Consumers have until May to file for reimbursement. Instructions can be found at www.appleipodsettlement.com.

Apple now discloses expectations for the iPod’s battery life on its package.


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