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iPod Nano vs washing machine: who wins?

Power spin cycle

With surprising regularity, Britain's Daily Mail, a mid-market tabloid, runs a heartwarming story about a puppy or kitten that has survived some awful domestic appliance encounter (trapped in the washing machine/freezer/breadmaker) and is photographed, bedraggled, in the aftermath. Everyone go "Awwww!"

And now we bring you El Reg's own version, passed on (as with the Daily Mail stories) from somewhere local. In this case, MacMerc, where Jon Knee accidentally washed his iPod Nano.

The details are here, including a picture of the Nano simpering happily. "The Nano is light enough that it turns out you can't really tell when it's in a shirt pocket and when it's not," explains Jon. "On this Saturday morning it was, and unfortunately the shirt was in the washer. I got ahold of it after about a minute in the dryer, so the little white contraption had already experienced a warm wash, cool rinse and exciting spin cycle. It was non-responsive, and if I was an ER doctor the Nano would have been pronounced dead."

After plugging it in - to no effect - he then spotted the batttery icon on the screen, and then about half an hour later, the backlight came on and the Nano mounted in iTunes and on the desktop. The screen still had moisture behind it, but was otherwise OK, and the clickwheel worked fine as well.

The survival is surely down to the use of Flash memory rather than a hard drive (as in the Nano's predecessor, the iPod Mini). A similar iPod Mini - washing machine encounter turned out less well for someone else this May; though that case raises the question of why the Nano's lithium-ion battery didn't also go pop. Presumably, the seal was so tight around the battery that no water reached it. Which is nice.

However, the washing machine treatment is nothing compared to that meted out to the Nano by the hard nuts at Ars Technica, who threw it high into the air and drove over it. And yeah, the screen did crack, a bit. And you know what? Apple refused to replace it on the guarantee. Geez!

Still, today's story does remain as testament to one of the most remarkable stories we can recall - a computer geek putting a shirt into the washing. Yes, it boggles the mind, doesn't it? ®

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