On Wednesday Apple
released an iPod software update
that lets users limit the maximum volume on their iPod nanos and fifth-generation iPods. The move acknowledges a product flaw, according to lawyers who filed
a class-action lawsuit
against Apple in January.
The iPod’s volume can be set high enough to potentially contribute to hearing loss, critics contend. The software update released Wednesday enable video iPod and iPod nano users to “lock” the maximum volume at a lower level — useful for parents who are concerned about their children’s ears, said Apple.
The software update doesn’t go far enough, said Steve Berman, an attorney for the plaintiffs. Berman called the update “a jack-legged workaround” that does nothing for the millions of users of older iPods. The software update only works with iPod nanos and fifth-generation iPods.
The lawyers explained in a statement that since 2002, Apple has been required by French law to limit the audio output of iPods sold in that country to 100 decibels. Apple hasn’t offered similar safeguards for iPods sold in the United States before now, they said.
“While the software allows users to set levels, the company does next to nothing to educate consumers about what is safe,” said J.R. Whaley, another attorney representing plaintiffs in the case.