Strange iPods May Be Difficult to Repair

Knockoffs among the iPod ilk come in many shapes and sizes, and their only real advantage appears to be price. That said, the real challenge might be fixing them when they break.

You might have already heard about the “iPods for Democracy” program, a distribution of iPod knockoffs as some kind of goodwill propaganda effort sponsored by an American organization called Voice for Humanity. This bellicose-related fit of mind flu is ostensibly a showcase for American idealism, a benevolence dubiously demonstrated on the backs of angry donkeys and Arabian horses trekking through isolated regions of rural Afghanistan bearing pink iPods as gifts to curious Afghan women eager to leap burka-first into the twenty-first century. This supposedly invaluable stepping stone toward literacy is genuinely gender-conscious; being pink, but otherwise only resembles a real iPod. Aid workers dutifully distributed 65,800 of these customized digital audio recorders, which cost $50.00 each – an iPod knockoff manufactured in China and loaded with public service messages on topics such as human rights, women’s rights, Afghanistan’s election process, and reproductive health.

Incredibly, dozens of these have been turning up lately broken in various ways, sometimes brought in by family members of Afghans now living in the United States, especially to independent repair shops specializing in cell phones, and electronic gadgets, including pseudo-iPods. A few were turned in with bullet holes lodged in their cheaply-assembled LCD screens. Perhaps ill-advised gifts in the first place, being remote Afghan villages, technicians at a number of independent shops have described the little pink gadgets being recycled as “scary” and very difficult to repair. “I’m not sure what they’re supposed to contain,” admits one less than impressed expert service technician who was soon seeing pink.

From the island of Taiwan, iPod knockoffs have been flying off the shelves fast enough to prompt repeated warnings from Apple. These Chinese substitutes can cost as little as a third of a genuine Apple, and come in various storage capacities from 512 MB up to 2 GB. These knockoffs look like the real Macintosh except for a less clearly delineated “menu” and have a play button in the center of the dial that is typically the first component to break. “I hate those things too,” said one service technician working at an independent repair shop who refused to be identified.

Jeff Gasner is with CPR-Cell Phone repair. The leader in Cell Phone Repair and iPod repair offering cell phone repair services nationwide. To learn more about Cell phone repairipod repaircell repair services, visit

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