ipod nano without itunes?
October 17, 2009 2:29 PM   Subscribe

iPod Nano without iTunes?? What does that mean and how can I fix it?

I just bought a Nano off eBay for my son. There was a note in the listing that said: "This Ipod model is OEM, meaning it is from the original manufacturer. However, its main difference is that it does not have itunes. So if you want itunes, this model is not for you. Please consider this when purchasing."

Unfortunately, I ignored this thinking that we already had iTunes, so it didn't make sense.

Anyway - the iPod is here now and when I plug it into our iMac it will not show up under devices in iTunes. Instead it shows up like a regular disc on the desktop called "untitled". Also, the iPod software is weird: Like you have to navigate through folders instead of using the familiar iPod UI (Artist, Genre, Album, etc).

I'm totally disappointed, but ultimately I guess this is my fault. As Mike Brady said, "Buyer Beware".

So, is there any way to make this thing work like a normal iPod?
posted by crapples to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
That's not an iPod. You bought a fake. Sorry. Sounds like maybe you can treat it as a normal USB drive - does it play things you drag and drop into it?

Also, be sure to pursue all possible remedies through eBay, as the seller ripped you off.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:32 PM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Judging from a quick Googling, it's most likely a no-name player built to look like an iPod, but containing some generic MP3 player software. If you're lucky, it can still play MP3 files, but that's about it.
posted by effbot at 2:37 PM on October 17, 2009

Oh crap - really? I didn't know there was such a thing. So, I'm writing a complaint through PayPal (which is what eBay tells you to do) right now. Can I call this thing a counterfeit? Was it not made by Apple at all? How could this even be done? Where would you get the parts?

Thanks for the feedback.
posted by crapples at 2:56 PM on October 17, 2009

How could this even be done? Where would you get the parts?

Pretty much all the electronics in an iPod are standard components available on the open market, but the thing you have doesn't contain any of those, of course -- it's just the cheapest generic components you can buy, placed in a case that looks like an iPod. It's not that unlikely that it's actually built as a cheap knock-off for the local market rather than a "counterfeit apple product" for the US market.

(Just curious, but are there any labels on the player itself or the packaging that says Apple or "designed in california" or something like that?)
posted by effbot at 3:18 PM on October 17, 2009

Should also point out that stuff like this is quite common on eBay -- these sellers tend to use OEM to mean "was built in a factory that could in theory have manufactured an OEM product for some big brand", and are usually quite careful to phrase everything to deflect accusations of counterfeiting or direct fraud -- "oh, I didn't mean a real iPod, just that it was similar to an iPod in that they can both play MP3 files, and it does work, see?"
posted by effbot at 3:32 PM on October 17, 2009

Yeah, you bought a knockoff - and it sounds like you got ripped off.

That being said, it sounds likely that the thing actually is a functional generic mp3 player - and if you don't succeed in getting the seller to take it back, you can still use it to listen to your music.
posted by kickingtheground at 3:32 PM on October 17, 2009

In answer to effbot: It does have the apple logo on the back and says manufactured in california and china. It looks pretty much exactly like a nano. The sync chord is a little "off" - the end that goes into the player is a little too fat and shaped a little differently.

I complained to paypal - asked for a refund. I'm sure I won't get it, but we'll see where it goes from here.

Thanks a ton for the feedback - I really appreciate it, even though I'm really disappointed.
posted by crapples at 3:37 PM on October 17, 2009

To clarify what's already been said, there's no such thing as an "OEM iPod". It's just a generic MP3 player designed to look like an iPod.

It's a fake.
posted by Mwongozi at 4:01 PM on October 17, 2009

Errr... could it be that it's a regular iPod nano which had its original firmware replaced with Rockbox or something similar? In this case there is usually an uninstall procedure you can follow to get the original firmware back.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 4:02 PM on October 17, 2009

Ok, fake logo moves it from cheap no-name knock-off to counterfeit. Let's hope you can get somewhere with paypal/ebay.

there's no such thing as an "OEM iPod"

iPods are built by Foxconn for Apple, not in Apple's own plants, so there's at least an original equipment manufacturer in the loop. But they're not shipping the hardware to anyone except Apple, of course, and would lose their contract pretty quickly if they did.
posted by effbot at 4:15 PM on October 17, 2009

Nthing that I'm sure it's fake. Pontifex has the right idea, but the fact iTunes doesn't even recognize it says to me that you can't just flash it with an iPod's firmware and expect it to work.

Out of curiosity, would you mind posting a picture or two of it? I'm wondering how similar it looks to the real thing.

I hope you can somehow get your money back.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:17 PM on October 17, 2009

I googled the asker's warning stated in the ebay ad and got this listing.
posted by neustile at 6:00 PM on October 17, 2009

(totally weird, when linked from mefi that link goes to a login page, but if you copy the URL directly you get it: http://www.ioffer.com/i/iPod-NANO-8GB-8G-purple-4TH-GEN-MP3-VIDEO-NEW-117032651 )
posted by neustile at 6:01 PM on October 17, 2009

Ask you know already, it's a fake, but for those surprised there are such good looking knockoffs... take a walk through Chinatown sometime.

CNet Review of a good counterfeit.
Video Demo of a typical great hardware / horrible software counterfeit.

The first one sounds a lot like crapples's (!) eponysterical purchase.

Apple is a software company. It shows.
posted by rokusan at 6:01 PM on October 17, 2009

Wait, what? They are and always have been a hardware company. The only software they sell is the Pro stuff, and have a small sideline in iWork. But nearly all of these are designed to drive hardware sales. Their biggest lines are the Mac, iPod and iPhone. The hardware is hardly an afterthought, either: the new MacBook case is tougher than my Thinkpad, as well as being gorgeous.

Do they have sloppy QA (really a side-effect of the secrecy) and sometimes cut costs too far (especially on screens)? Yes, definitely. Are they are "a software company"? Uh, no.

OP: it's a scam, for sure. But if it has the Apple logo on, it's definitely a counterfeit by eBay's definition, and you should get your cash back. Good luck.
posted by fightorflight at 8:53 PM on October 17, 2009

Arg, I read totally the wrong thing there, sorry Rokusan.
posted by fightorflight at 8:58 PM on October 17, 2009

fightorflight: "Wait, what? They are and always have been a hardware company."

They're certainly more of a software company than say Dell. I'm told that both outsource laptop design and focus on marketing, ie determining what features should be in the laptops.
posted by pwnguin at 9:02 PM on October 17, 2009

For reference, a co-worker bought a counterfeit iPhone from eBay (thinking it was real). It was obvious it was fake and after complaining to PayPal, he was told to get a certified letter from an expert saying it was fake and then destroy it. He got the letter from an Apple store I think and then PayPal refunded him.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:07 AM on October 18, 2009

Yes, you probably got a fake. BUT, to answer the real question, you can still use it! Assuming the device itself isn't terrible to use, you've got a perfectly functioning mp3 player, it just won't work well with iTunes directly, nor will you be able to play purchased drm-ed files on it.

BUT! Back to the actual question at hand

Doubletwist is designed for just this situation, a non-iPod to use with iTunes. It will load your iTunes library and let you sync your music. Try and get your money back, but if not, know that it's not the end of the world. Better than a brick, at least!
posted by CharlesV42 at 6:51 AM on October 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

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