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Handhelds Businesses Media Music Technology (Apple) Apple Hardware Technology

Finding Holiday Discounts on iPods? 849

Posted by Cliff
from the getting-a-hold-of-a-real-bargain dept.
jeffy124 asks: "I was hoping to get an Apple iPod for Christmas. Alas, it's too expensive and out of the budget. So I'm forced into purchasing it for myself. Hoping to cash in on a holiday season bargain, I've been keeping my eye on the sales circulars that come in the newspaper. I've seen plenty of discounts for MP3 players of all kinds (Rio's, Dell's new HD-based player, etc), and the iPod has also shown up. Christmas does not yet seem very merry to me. They're always at the regular $299/399/499 price, never at a discount of any sort. You read that right, it's 'for sale' at the *regular* price. Stores guilty of this include Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, and CompUSA. Why do stores do this? How often? And does anyone know why Apple has been singled out while their competition has gotten their products discounted? Anyone know who *is* granting discounts on iPods this holiday season?"

"The other day came in the mail a 10% off coupon for various items at Best Buy, including 'MP3 Players' as indicated on the front of slip. Hoping this was how I was gonna get that discount, I set aside time this weekend to drive to Delaware in order to skip out on my local state sales tax too. I turned the coupon over, and in the legal disclaimer was the phrase 'Excludes Apple iPod Players.' Needless to say, a Merry Christmas is still aways off."

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Finding Holiday Discounts on iPods?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:11PM (#7663528)
    ...is after christmas. That is when all the best bargains are found.
  • by websensei (84861) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:12PM (#7663533) Journal
    because they can. (boring).

    next issue?
  • Blame Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EricWright (16803) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:12PM (#7663541) Journal
    AFAIK, Apple is the one keeping prices up. If you look at third party Mac sellers, they will often give you a memory upgrade, HD increase, free accessories, etc., but almost never a price break. My guess would be that Apple exerts similar influence regarding price controls of other product lines, too.

    If you want a cheaper ipod, your best bet is most likely going to be eBay.
  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:13PM (#7663544) Journal
    I can't believe there isn't some collusion between the retailers and the manufacturers over Xmas, which has an effect on the 'sale' price. Perhaps Apple said 'No'.

    I don't think it's morally right to say that a product is 'on sale' unless there's been a reduction in price though - at least in the UK, there must have been an immediately preceding period at which the product was priced higher for it to be marketed as at a 'sale' price...

    Simon.
  • by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent,jan,goh&gmail,com> on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:13PM (#7663546) Homepage
    Find someone that's willing to buy it for you through their higher education discount. In Canada, a $439 10GB iPod goes for about $379 if you use an educational discount, if I recall correctly.
  • by BonrHanzon (411856) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:13PM (#7663553)
    Just because it's listed in a circular doesn't mean that there's any sale price. We are just conditioned to believe that.
    I haven't seen ipods for anything less than MSRP at any B&M either, probably due to the demand being so high.
  • Capitalism 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoraLives (622001) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:15PM (#7663577)
    Why do stores do this?

    To make money.

    How often?

    As long as the market will bear.

  • Supply and Demand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moehoward (668736) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:15PM (#7663583)
    Supply and demand, baby. Deal with it. You don't WANT an iPod competitor. You want an iPod. Don't try to pass the competitors off as equivalent and then bitch about a price differece. Go buy the competitor if you don't like it.

    Step 1) Create product
    Step 2) Sell it at market price based on supply and demand
    Step 3) Profit

    It's so easy, even Microsoft can do it!
  • by Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:16PM (#7663591) Homepage Journal
    But a sale merely means that objects are being sold. "New sale price" means that I am selling a product for a new price. "Sale price" merely means that the cost of the product in my sale (which I have every day, as the operator of a store - hypothetically speaking) is this price. In fact, "new sale price" doesn't even imply that the price is lower than it was previously.

    I think people forget that any time any person or business sells anything, they are having a sale. "Sale" has come to take on the meaning of reduced prices but I don't think people's inability to recall the original meaning of words needs to be legislated.

  • by Osrin (599427) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:17PM (#7663605) Homepage
    Your scenario is driven by demand, my local CompUSA is generally out of stock of them, not by choice but because demand is so high.

    They're maintaining the price and pushing a huge advertising campaign, it's a good strategy, higher price & lower volume = bigger profit & lower manufacturing cost.
  • They don't need to (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alcimedes (398213) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:17PM (#7663619)
    You don't put your product on sale unless you have some need to put it on sale.

    They have marketshare, and they have a product that's selling like mad. Why lower the price when people are buying as many as you can make anyway?

  • by saddino (183491) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:17PM (#7663623)
    Why should I have to enslave myself to Apple

    You shouldn't. Nobody's forcing you, right? If you want to spend the money for the iPod, then do it. If you don't, then, er, don't.
  • Re:Isn't it Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CatOne (655161) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:19PM (#7663649)
    Apple can enforce a "Minimum Advertised Price." That is, you cannot advertise the product for less than a certain amount.

    Apple cannot control what you actually SELL it for, though.

    However, if you're a retailer and you know you have X allocation of iPods, and you can sell them all at full retail, why discount?
  • The Apple brand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jetkust (596906) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:21PM (#7663675)
    Part of Apple's pricing strategy is that "it cost's more, so it must be good.", backed up with Apple's general image of creating superior products. I just wonder what will happen if Apple ever releases a $200 or $300 pc. Complete Mayham?!?
  • "For Sale" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RandyF (588707) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:27PM (#7663746) Journal
    You've got to remember the oldest trick in the salesman's book: "For Sale" or "On Sale" only refers to the fact that they are selling it, not that it is discounted.

    You've also got to remember that Apple is plenty proud of their products and doesn't tend to discount much.

  • Re:Ebay. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jafac (1449) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:29PM (#7663762) Homepage
    EXACTLY.

    I bought a dual 2ghz G5 on ebay for $2700. They retail from Apple for $2999. The same machine had been used by someone doing a magazine review, repackaged, and sold on ebay. Everything was still in it's wrapper. I'm 100% satisfied.

    (I then went out and bought 1 gig of 3rd party RAM for half the price the Apple RAM would have cost).

    Especially since this one was not plagued with the "noisy power supply" problem (I asked the seller first) - you can't get THAT guarantee from Apple.
  • by Malc (1751) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:40PM (#7663893)
    Oh come on, don't be so obtuse. We all know that a shop says it's having a sale to indicate that it's selling things at a discount from their normally selling price. In N. America, shops try to play on this with psychology by having continuous sales... they're trying to convince buyers that there's currently a discount and if they don't hurry they will lose out. Of course, as the sales seem to go on all the time, they're not really having a sale. The other sly practice is to rotate the sale through different items from week to week in the hope of catching a consumer by their unawares.
  • Buy it second hand (Score:2, Insightful)

    by elan (171883) * on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:42PM (#7663913)
    Good deal available on Ebay and elsewhere, especially if you're willing to get a last-gen model.
  • by coinreturn (617535) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:43PM (#7663920)
    If you shopped the day after Thanksgiving in an Apple store, you got 10% off on an iPod. Sorry you missed it.
  • by Malc (1751) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:45PM (#7663938)
    Why are you letting society put so much pressure on you? You're running around like a headless chicken trying to get something that you can't really afford. Don't let society do this to you, and you will be so much happier. If you really are going to find a use for an MP3 player, get a cheaper one and spend the money you saved doing something social with your family/friends. If they shun or pressurize you for not having the coolest gadget, that's their problem not yours, and they're probably not worth having as friends (family's another issue).
  • by vwjeff (709903) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:53PM (#7664014)
    Apple has always controlled prices on their products even if you do not buy the product directly from Apple. You would think that Apple would sell more iPods if they allowed their stores to control pricing however that could undercut Apple's direct buyer market. They control hardware, software, and prices which can be positive and negative depending on how you view Apple.
  • by substance2003 (665358) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:01PM (#7664080)
    Well, I for one wanted to get an I-Pod as well but had to give up on it because it was so expensive. Like you I wanted to find a bargain but no one was giving any. I eventually settled for the Nomad Zen Xtra (30 gig version) which does everything I need it to do just fine.

    Not that I am trying to plug this product but after having bought my Nomad I came across an article that talked about a huge flaw with the I-Pod which is that the battery cannot be removed and that Apple will replace it for you at a price of around 250$. In other words you not only not get a discount you also have to be prepared to pay alot more further down the road.

    After reading that article I really started to appreciate my investement in the Nomad player even if the interface isn't as good as the Ipod's wheel and software. It took a few days but I found ways to navigate it.

    I'm not telling you to buy the same thing I did, I'm just telling you to really look at what you are paying for before putting down alot of money. Considering how much you pay for these products, I think it's really worth taking time to find the right product for you than just getting the cool looking one. To me it was more important to be happy with my player than to have the wow factor.

    Hope this is useful.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:02PM (#7664092)
    Because anyone who has an iPod will tell you it's worth the price premium.
  • by Sebby (238625) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:06PM (#7664112)
    Rebates exist to drive up sales of a product. Since the iPod is already selling very well, and is still in high demand, there's no point for Apple/Resellers to offer a discount.

  • Re:Price Limits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GlassHeart (579618) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:07PM (#7664127) Journal
    I think price fixing is dishonest in all circumstances (unfortunately not illegal in these cases) but to varying degrees. In this case Apple is further in the wrong in my book.

    You are very ill-informed. One company setting a price for a product is not "price fixing". Other companies can and do compete against Apple's iPod with lower prices, so go buy those instead if you don't like the prices. Now, if Apple got together with Dell and Rio or whoever else, and conspired to keep prices at a certain level, then that's "price fixing" and it is anti-competitive and illegal. Secondly, if Apple is a monopoly in the market, they can also achieve the results of price fixing without conspiring with another company. A couple of months ago, Apple had about 30-40% of the market in terms of unit, and about 50% in terms of dollars spent. It is not a monopoly.

    Similarly, BMW and Benz are not "fixing prices" just because their products are expensive. The are simply luxury goods, like $500 portable music players.

  • by blankmange (571591) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:33PM (#7664367)
    As I read the postings here, one theme keeps coming up -- "I can't believe Apple (or any other corporation) would sttop to price fixing on a popular consumable."

    Please - why the shock and surprise? Apple doesn't have to lower the price, for Christmas or any other reason. The ipod is a hot item - for whatever reason. Apple will get the sales, whether or not the 1/2 dozen of you who think that they should lower the price or you just won't buy one continue to have your little coniptions....

    Apple has very strict price points they sell and have their resellers sell their products. Best Buy/Circuit City/whoever contractually cannot lower the price without Apple's say-so.

    So suck it up: pay the man or don't .... and get on with your lives already...
  • by adrianbaugh (696007) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:34PM (#7664381) Homepage Journal
    I fail to see the problem. As the parent said, if you don't like the price Apple wants you to pay, get a different mp3 player. The fact that Apple are forcing you to pay their price through different resellers doesn't seem to me to matter: the iPod is not the only product that can do the job (playing mp3s), and if the price is too high people will buy something else and Apple (and, to some extent, its resellers) will be the losers.
    Now, if Apple had an agreement with all the other companies to keep the prices of all mp3 player high, that would be something to be concerned about. But at the end of the day it's Apple's product and they can should be able to charge whatever they like for it. If the product doesn't warrant the price, people won't buy it. If people don't buy it at the higher price, the market will force Apple to lower their prices. It all comes back to Adam Smith and his Invisible Hand.
  • by Compact Dick (518888) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:40PM (#7664421) Homepage
    While this doesn't address your question, I strongly suggest you avoid iPods as their battery life is short [6 hours - which neuters the purpose of having a 30 gB HDD], they're fairly pricey, the preamp sound quality could be better and you will end up paying to get more features [if you want to record with your iPod, you have to buy an add-on that will let you record to 32kbps mono MP3 - not good for much other than voice.]

    Your best alternative would be the iRiver iHP-120 [iriver.com]. It boasts a 16 hour battery charge life [it achieves this regularly], superb sound quality, high quality MP3 recording, Ogg Vorbis support, digital + optical line in/line out, frequent firmware updates with new features/enhancements/bugfixes for free [the newest update added lyrics support, for instance], text file viewer [read e-books], USB 2.0 High Speed, fabulous build quality... it goes on :-) You don't even need special drivers or software to transfer files from/to computers, so it works as a portable 20 gB device, including under Linux.

    Also check out reviews from ign.com [iriver.com] and CNET [cnet.com]. Don't miss the customer feedback [cnet.com], but watch out for trolls & astroturfers.

    iRiver are a company that respects their customers and earns their money. You will see it in the tone of their announcements; hell, they even offer to replace the iHP-100's [and most likely the iHP-120's] lithium battery for free if you use it a lot [iriver.com]. They have gained success by selling products that are worth buying and do not go obsolete as easily.

    I know I sound like an iRiver pimp, but this company has truly lived up to its hype and therefore deserves my pimping services :-) [personally, i own an iMP-550 [iriver.com] and find it outstandingly good in every way. I do not work for them, though I would love to.]
  • by wolrahnaes (632574) <sean@nosPaM.seanharlow.info> on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:51PM (#7664485) Homepage Journal
    The difference is that the RIAA has all but a monopoly over the music sales at major retailers. You have no real option except to buy from them. OTOH, Apple has no such thing. They charge what they want fot their products and people will still pass up cheaper items because the Apple products are either better (iPod), cooler (G5), or the right tool for the job (Final Cut).

    This is not to be confused with me defending Apple's prices. I would love to get a decent price on a G5 and an iPod. Guess it's back to eBay for me ;P
  • Sooooo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by /dev/trash (182850) on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:03PM (#7664571) Homepage Journal
    Celebrating the birth of Christ or giving gifts or whatever this season is supposed to mean, actually means nothing because you can't afford an iPod?
  • by danoaks15 (619749) on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:06PM (#7664593)
    The Christmas Story Rocks asshole. But agreed on Blink182. But as the Christmas story goes, you can just watch it on TBS a bunch of times.
  • by LesPaul75 (571752) on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:32PM (#7664785) Journal
    Storage space isn't the most important issue to lots of people. Many, like me, care about the user interface, and the iPod's interface is just excellent. The Zen's isn't.
  • by raodin (708903) on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:50PM (#7664908)
    More than likely.. I think this has been true for a LONG time all across Apple's product lines. There's never been more than a $50 variance or so on Apple hardware, if you buy it new. Thats why resellers would generally try to sell your on extras. (like free memory, software, etc) Pretty much the only way to get discounts on new Apple hardware is educational/developer discounts.
  • Re:Just wait... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pballsim (119438) on Monday December 08, 2003 @09:15PM (#7665068) Homepage
    That's brilliant, have a 14-day 'price-protection' policy for an item that they refuse to reduce the price on.

    Everybody's been doing this.

    Car companies do this all the time. "Come to Joes we are the only ones who are selling this car this low".

    In fact, it's the manufacture who actually send out the sales, not the stores.

  • by ahaning (108463) on Monday December 08, 2003 @09:26PM (#7665144) Homepage Journal
    What's to keep you from buying, say, a 10GB iPod ($299), and a 40GB 2.5" HDD ($139 at newegg.com [newegg.com]) and putting the 40GB HDD in the iPod. Then, you would get a 40GB iPod for ~$439, plus you would have an extra 10GB 2.5" HDD lying around. You could put the extra hard drive in a 2.5" external enclosure with firewire and usb2 [newegg.com] for just $40 extra.

    Admittedly, when all is said and done, this would be quite a bit more work, would only save you $20, and would likely void any warranty.

    Does Apple do something to prevent this? I thought they were just regular 2.5" hard drives in the iPod (I could very well be wrong, though.)
  • by Matthaeus (156071) on Monday December 08, 2003 @09:36PM (#7665194) Homepage
    Parent didn't just mean Apple. Retail stores will often advertise their price without discounting it any (the corporate bullshit version is that their prices are already so low that they can't really go any lower). I work retail at one of the companies mentioned in the article and I get asked at least once a week why they do that sort of stuff. Most people just don't notice, and figure that if it's in the circular, it must be cheaper.

    In a nutshell, it's corporations exploiting the fact that most sheeple don't think. I say, more power to them.
  • by tho 1234 (709100) on Monday December 08, 2003 @09:42PM (#7665241)
    but it can definately help with the balance sheet, and making investors see a strong balance sheet is more important than tax savings

    Many of the large computer chains have sale items that come out to be free after mail in rebates. It doesn't take much to realize that its not a viable business model to give away your merchandise- Still, large chain stores do that typically near the end of a quarter, so they can boost the quarterly revenues, boosting stock prices, and later mark off the expense as marketing.

    Its similar to what enron did, "sell" your energy to a subsidiary, mark it on the balance sheet as profit, then "buy" it back again and list is as a capital investment, when in reality nothing changed hands.

    Yes, many of these business tactics make no sense from a rational point of view, but large corporations are usually more concerned with the perception of strong resuts than reality.

  • by penguinstorm (575341) on Monday December 08, 2003 @09:54PM (#7665295) Homepage
    Or Oakley, which regularly refuses to let its retailers discount its products; it occassionally happens, but is almost never advertised and the discount rarely exceeds 20%.

    Patagonia lets retailers discount, but they generally have to:
    a) notify the rep first
    b) not discount stuff that they're told not to discount!

    It's really a pretty common practice with high-leverage brands.

    FWIW I was told - and I don't work the retail channel, so have no way of confirming this (but not reason not to believe it) that the profit on the CRT iMac (and probably the current eMac) was CDN$20

    So while you complain about price gouging on the high end, remember the non-existent profit margins on the low. Keep in mind too that those customers buying the CDN$20 computers ('cause that's what they're worth to me) are the biggest pains - they're going to take forever to make a decision, ask you to explain why your iMac is better than a Dell at $50 less, come back regularly and ask questions which you think should be obvious.

    So basically, you make no money off your low-end customers.

    So I got no problem with Apple fixing prices and retailers making decent markups - as long as it's backed with reasonable warranties and decent products.

    And there's where the iPod fails: 90 days is a joke, and a battery that's not changeable by the user is a travesty of epic proportions. Why anybody's buying this thing, I don't know.

    But I want one...my precious.
  • by whookey (102450) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:00PM (#7665325)

    Hoping this was how I was gonna get that discount, I set aside time this weekend to drive to Delaware in order to skip out on my local state sales tax too. I turned the coupon over, and in the legal disclaimer was the phrase 'Excludes Apple iPod Players.' Needless to say, a Merry Christmas is still aways off."

    It sounds like the trip would take you a couple of hours at the minimum to complete. You'd save 30 bucks and another 10 bucks on shipping by buying online from an out of state dealer. A four hour trip would then come to 10 bucks an hour, not counting the fuel you'd most likely liberate CO2 from. Can I rent you for 12 bucks an hour? I've got some chores which need doing.

    If you've got 300 bucks to spend on a portable music player, you can afford 40 more. Cease whining about "not getting a deal" and just drop the cash, you'll be a happier person. Spend the time you would have spent in a car or asking slashdot on a bike ride instead, listening to the iPod, instead of worrying how to get it for a few bucks less than MSRP.

  • jeffy124 says... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vudufixit (581911) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:05PM (#7665349)
    "Christmas does not yet seem very merry to me yet" Please put things into perpective, Jeffy. There are billions of people out there who won't even have a meal during Christmas this year, let alone an iPod. There are countless others who have no family, or are terminally ill, etc and may not live to see another Christmas. I certainly hope you find your Ipod cheaply, but I hope you find some holiday perspective first....
  • by YouHaveSnail (202852) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:47PM (#7665923)
    From what I understand, Apple does essentially dictate the price. But not just because they can... after all, you'd think that if they could make the same dough per unit while consumers paid less, they'd do it, right? But it's more complicated than that, and there are a few reasons that keeping the price of a particular piece of hardware within a few bucks anywhere you go is attractive to Apple, and believe it or not, beneficial in some ways to customers.

    First, many Apple products are high margin items for retailers. As long as that's true, plenty of retailers will carry Apple products, and Apple has a decent shot at increasing both market share and mind share. If Apple lets the price float, retailers' profits on Apple hardware suddenly drop close to zero, and few retailers will continue to carry Apple stuff.

    Second, those high margins give Apple a lot of leverage with retailers. Apple needs to ensure that the way its products are presented reflect well on the brand. The "store within a store" concept that you see at CompUSA and others is one example of that. That all costs money. The high margins are Apple's carrot, and the threat of losing Apple authorized reseller status is Apple's stick in the effort to enforce its requirements.

    Third, consistant pricing lets consumers buy without worrying that they're missing out on some great deal. If you want an iPod, you go out and buy one at whatever place you like the best or is most convenient for you. It doesn't matter (much) whether you buy at the Apple store or from Amazon or from CompUSA or Best Buy or Circuit City.

    Fourth, most people perceive price as an indication of quality. A $300 music player must work better and do more than one that costs $130. (And in the case of the iPod, Apple can back this up: iPod is a better music player than the $130 model in every way other than price.)

    Fifth, the market that Apple is clearly targetting with iPod is that segment that doesn't mind paying a premium for a device that works well. These are the same people that might next buy an iMac or a PowerBook or a G5. As much as iPod has been a big hit for Apple, I have to believe that its most important effect has been to introduce Apple to new customers.

    What it comes down to is that dropping the margins on iPod gets Apple nothing but cheaper customers, less control over retailers, lower customer perception of quality, and less distribution. Why would they do that?
  • by morganjharvey (638479) on Tuesday December 09, 2003 @12:55AM (#7666177)
    Pretend for just a moment that we were talking about cars.
    Now, let's take a BMW sedan that sells for what, about $35,000? Compare it to, say, a Kia sedan that sells for about $20,000. They're both cars, and yet one costs $15,000 more than the other one... And I'm pretty sure that both of them have quite large restrictions on when their dealers can discount certain items.
    But why? Both have engines that make you go forward and reverse, steering, etc.. But one's a luxury model. Leather seats, nifty spiffy in-dash computer, all that kind of good stuff. Do you need it? Probably not. Is it something that could make your drive a little more pleasant? Yeah, maybe.
    Now, let's look at the iPod. Do you need the nifty Apple-style design, the metalic casing, the laser engraving, etc.? No. Are they fun/nice to have? Yeah, if you're a person who enjoys things like good design. But, the same way with the car, it's not for everybody. These are also usually features that cost extra. But I can guarantee you that apple isn't the only one dictating prices on their mp3 players.
  • Brand Equity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09, 2003 @03:33AM (#7666659)
    Companies that participate in agressive promotions all the time erode brand equity. Apple does not want to do this.
  • by jkeyes (243984) * on Tuesday December 09, 2003 @03:31PM (#7672082) Journal
    By buying this and then telling Rio I bought this for Ogg and FLAC support you then send a message to the company that people WANT this and then other companies will probably copy them because they'll want similar success.
  • by danielsfca2 (696792) on Tuesday December 09, 2003 @07:52PM (#7675430) Journal
    > everyone of them is made to have the battery easily replaceable, without jamming something sharp into the case to pry it apart.

    Looking at my Palm m505, I don't see any sliding battery cover. I see 4 tiny Torx screws which would probably run you at least $5 for a driver. Throw in a battery for $34.99 [craytonelectronics.com] plus $10 shipping and tax, and it's over $50 to replace the battery. Where are all the Palm users crying fraud? Palm used to use user-replaceable batteries, so you could put in your own rechargeable of choice, but they probably switched to this kind so they could better guarantee it would charge properly in the cradle (more practical than charging your AAAs a la carte) and also to make it less likely that cheap Chinese import batteries (like in the phone market) could be easily swapped in and cause headaches when they exploded, leaked and such. Apple's choice may have been grounded on similar thinking.

    You are entitled to your opinion (that everything should have tool-free battery doors), but in my opinion any self-respecting geek doesn't care whether something is designed to be user-serviceable or not. All that matters is whether it is user-serviceable, and the iPod is. And while we're asking one another where we found things, I'd like to see where you buy your laptop batteries.

    > And if you buy the kit, ...$59...you might as well just ship the stupid thing back to Apple and pay them $99...

    I don't follow your logic. First you bitch that $10 is too much to ask for the tools to pop the iPod case, then you shrug and say that it's not worth doing it yourself, even though (a) you save $40, (b) you don't have to give it up for a week, and (c) you don't have to swap your iPod for a different one (mine is engraved). Make up your mind--are you cheap or are you lazy and wasteful?

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