EXPENSIVE TOYMAKER Apple has made it clear that when the battery dies in its overpriced keyboardless netbook, the Ipad, you will have to stump up $99 for a new discounted machine.
Three weeks before shipping its tablet, the company announced an Ipad battery replacement programme to spell out exactly how it will make punters who buy the gadget lives miserable.
Apple is facing consumer lawsuits over the fact it did not explain its Iphone battery replacement policies to customers properly, so this time it is dotting its i's and crossing its t's.
Under the deal if your Ipad's battery will no longer hold a charge you will not get a new battery, you will get a whole new Ipad. The replacement can be set up over the phone. Apple expects it'll take about a week for you to receive your new Ipad.
However the fine print in the deal is worth a look. According to Apple your Ipad will have to be in "good condition", aside from its dead battery, as determined by Apple. Of course its definition of what's "good condition" and yours might be different, too.
All your data will havve to be synced to Itunes so you don't lose anything, as well.
It could be that Apple is going to try and flog the Ipads on the second-hand market, perhaps even refurbished to sell cheap in China or India.
The fact that the gadget's battery is dying is a sign that you have to get a new machine is pretty strange for a piece of gear that costs $500 and up.
Apple claims that the Ipad's battery will be good for 400 to 500 recharge cycles and should last for a couple of years. But it might last for a shorter time if it's used heavily, we imagine.
In any case, after two years the chance of having a mint condition Ipad is unlikely. Also in two years' time Jobs' Mob will be unlikely to still have the first generation Ipads on sale anywhere, although there are rumours that it might flog 2010 Ipads alongside later models.
It seems more likely that the cappuccino company is hoping that if your battery dies in two years, and you are faced with having to pay $99 to replace the same ancient machine for another two years, you will just upgrade instead. In short it is a cunning plan to 'encourage' people to send Apple more money to upgrade to the next model.
In the first weekend of presales the Ipad has attracted 150,000 presales worldwide. While this might sound quite good, given the level of marketing hype and all the free press that Apple has got for the Ipad, it is somewhat disappointing.
Perhaps people have woken up to the fact that it really is a hunk of junk for the price and there will likely be much better tablets out there. At least ones where you'll be able to replace the battery yourself, like a grown-up. µ