April 11th 2004
By Mike Flaminio
iPod Lounge, the HQ of all things iPod, has a thread running with users suggesting that the Mini's sound isn't all it should be.
Some Mini owner-drivers claim that there is distortion when certain areas of the casing are pressed. One reader writes:
"This small part attaches to main iPod board ONLY via small black connector that sits on the main board...Their mistake is obvious. The small part with the headphone jack attaches via screws to the aluminium case, but does not screw to the main board. Because of this any pressure on iPod case, dock connector, or simply plugging in and out headphones, creates tension between the small part and the main board.
This is by no means a universal point of view, however. Some readers argue that the iPod Mini is not supposed to be taken apart (not by unauthorized personnel anyway). Others point to grounding issues which occur with many pieces of sound equipment.
Still more users report no problems after a couple of months of intensive use.
One user has posted their alien autopsy, complete with pictures, of the surgical disassembly procedure. And, as ever - caution. You could (and probably will) invalidate your warranty by attempting this without adult supervision.
Analysis: It's unclear whether this is in fact an identifiable issue at present. The bottom line is that you shouldn't take your iPM apart, unless you're planning on selling the microdrive on eBay. It's true that the iBook logic board flaws were never acknowledged by Apple until a critical mass of owners forced the issue. With such a massive hit product like the iPM, let's hope that Apple hasn't left quality control in the dust.