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iPod Poor Choice For Music On Hold

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melted iPods

A caller to Easy On Hold asked for some tips on plugging in his iPod to play music on hold on his phone system. It can be done, but that’s not to say it is a good idea.Portable mp3 players are great for personal listening, but these music machines are not built for 24/7 music on hold playback. Here are a few reasons why we recommend against using your iPod for on hold music playback.

Continuous use of your iPod may void the warranty.

Since the warranty explicitly states that the product is not made to be used continuously (“uninterrupted”), any damage from such use is not warranted.The following is directly from the Apple Warranty on iPod products:

Apple does not warrant that the operation of the product will be uninterrupted or error-free. Apple is not responsible for damage arising from failure to follow instructions relating to the product’s use. This warranty does not apply: (a) to damage caused by use with non-Apple products; (b) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, flood, fire, earthquake or other external causes; (c) to damage caused by operating the product outside the permitted or intended uses described by Apple; workmanship; or (g) if any Apple serial number has been removed or defaced.

Additional warnings from the Apple iPod Manual: Power adapters may become warm during normal use, and prolonged contact may cause injury.(Appendix B, page 129)Important: you may not be able to use iPod touch while the temperature warning screen is displayed. If iPod touch can’t regulate its internal temperature, it goes into deep sleep mode until it cools. (Appendix B, page 132) This means that simply by operating the iPod continuously, the unit may shut down from time to time to cool, making it a poor choice for music on hold.

Other problems with iPod as music on hold source include:
  • Low-level output may be inadequate. Because the iPod is built to conserve battery power, the audio output is configured for use with high-efficiency headphones. This low-power output is not made to match the impedance of a telephone system.
  • The iPod will need to be reset if it loses power. An iPod will not restart in the case of power loss; someone will need to remember to restart the iPod.
  • An iPod makes a tempting target. The popularity and universal usability of the iPod makes it a frequent target for theft. Due to the small size, someone could easily walk off with it.
  • Lithium batteries are not meant for 24/7 charge cycles.The battery life of an iPod varies by model and allows for a limited number of battery charges (“cycles”) before the battery needs to be replaced by an Apple store or representative. A USB Power Adapter can be purchased from Apple for an additional charge, however this type of audio player is not intended for use in a 24 hour, 7 day rotation.
  • Heat warnings from Apple "Charging your iPod, iPod Nano or iPod shuffle while in certain carrying cases may generate excess heat, which can affect battery capacity. If you notice your iPod gets hot when you charge it, take it out of its case first."
    • From The Seattle Times

      March, 2008 — Japan is investigating a possible defect in Apple’s iPod after one of the popular digital-music players reportedly shot out sparks while recharging, a government official said Wednesday. An official at the trade and economy ministry, which oversees product problems, said a defect is suspected in the lithium-ion battery in the iPod Nano.

      From Fortune Magazine

      March 2008—After researching Japan’s investigation of an iPod Nano that caught fire, Fortune Magazine found the following entry on an apple comment board: “Is there something wrong with the battery they put on the first gen iPod Nano? Mine just got blown to pieces. I was just charging it on my Laptop then it suddenly sparks and it caught fire. Even the clicking wheel got melted and the back of the iPod split open.”

      From WSBT-TV

      Lock, stock and two smoking iPods! Atlanta man burning mad! “I’m still kind of freaked out that after only a year and a half my iPod caught fire in my pocket,” said Williams. The iPod uses a lithium ion battery — the same type of battery under recall for setting laptops on fire.