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Apple to pay $22.5m for scratched iPods

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Apple will pay $22.5m into a settlement fund to compensate buyers of early-release first-generation iPod nanos. You see, these nanos had displays that were easily scratched.

The settlement covers only "uncoated" iPod nanos, meaning the original nanos that began shipping in September 2005 and immediately ignited a firestorm of complaints about their scratchability.

If you're the unfortunate owner of one of the überscratchable uncoated 'Pods, you can gain some relief from this class-action settlement.

But don't expect to use your settlement windfall to score a new iPod touch. If the settlement is approved, you'll receive the princely sum of $25 if your nano arrived without an Apple-supplied slipcase and a mere $15 if your nano came with one.

According to the settlement, "some" iPod nanos were manufactured with a protective coating beginning in December 2005. They're not eligible for this bonanza.

To find out if your iPod nano can earn you a few bucks, look for a serial number in tiny type on its back below the capacity listing, then enter that number on this form.

Then, after filling your form, mail it in by June 10, 2009 and wait for your check.

But be advised that you may wait a long, long time. According to the full settlement document (PDF), the Court will hold a hearing on April 28, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. to decide whether to approve the settlement. If the judge approves the settlement, there may be appeals. And the appeal process can drag out.

"Please be patient," the settlement reads.

And don't expect an apology from Apple. The settlement also says that "Apple denies all allegations in the Lawsuit and...is entering into this settlement to avoid burdensome and costly litigation. The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or an indication that any law was violated."

Whatever...

While you're waiting for your payout, you may want to take advantage of one of the many products from a cottage industry of 'Pod-polishers that sprung up immediately after the problem surfaced.

Do-it-yourself polishing agents include Applesauce Polish, iCleaner, Displex, Ice Creme, DLO Care Kit, iDrops, and undoubtedly more.

iResQ will even replace your iPod nano's entire display for $83 or sell you the parts to do it yourself for $44.99.

Or if you're cheap, you could just use a four-buck bottle of Brasso. Here's how.

Finally, if you're one of the attorneys working on the settlement, you won't need to go the cheap route. As part of the settlement, Apple has also agreed to pay attorney's fees of $4.5m. ®

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