MPs batter Apple over iPod batteries

The iPod's limited battery life has already caused Apple some grief. Now a collection of British politicians are putting the boot in, but Apple says their claims are inaccurate

A group of UK MPs has hit out at Apple over its policy for supplying replacement rechargeable batteries for its hugely popular iPod digital music player.

In an Early Day Motion (EDM) published on Monday, the consumer electronics giant is accused of not making sufficient quantities of replacement batteries easily available to British iPod users at a fair price. Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle proposed the EDM -- which is a device used by parliamentarians to draw attention to an issue. It has already been signed by a further 10 MPs.

The EDM states: "That this House notes with concern the difficulty people are having in replacing batteries for iPods, the new pocket sized walkmans; notes that iPods were a favourite Christmas present, with a value of between £250 to £400, but that when people come to buy replacement batteries they find that they cost £100 and that they have little knowledge of where such batteries can be obtained from; and calls on the supplier, Apple, to ensure that replacement batteries are plentiful in supply and priced at a reasonable level."

Apple, though, has hit out at the EDM, insisting that its customers are being given adequate protection and pointing out that a new iPod battery will cost British consumers less than £100. "For £79 including VAT (plus postage and shipping), iPod owners can enroll in the iPod Out-of-Warranty Battery Replacement Programme anytime after the one year warranty has expired," said Apple in a statement.

While the iPod has been enthusiastically received by consumers, battery issues have taken some of the shine off Apple's success. Some early adopters of the device found that the battery no longer worked after 18 months of use, and protested when they found a replacement battery would cost almost as much as a whole new iPod.

Apple reacted to this criticism by launching a replacement service in the US costing around $100. The £79 Out-of-Warranty Battery Replacement Programme, launched last week, is the British version of this scheme.

The EDM will remain open at Parliament for several weeks, giving other MPs the chance to register their concern over the iPod battery issue. It is understood, though, that Apple is pushing for the text of the EDM to be changed, to reflect the fact that a replacement iPod battery from Apple will cost less than £100.

Further details of Apple's UK iPod battery replacement scheme can be found here, and an overview of its AppleCare programme can be seen here.

The Early Day Motion can be viewed here.