This can’t be right:
Maximum operating altitude: 3,000 metres (10,000 feet)
My Rio Cali flash drive MP3 player worked perfectly up to 5000m.
Leave a comment if you know of an iPod Nano on Everest or other high peaks.
Likely Apple is being overcautious.
UPDATE: Consensus of opinion is that flash drive Nano iPods should be OK at altitude. But that spinning disk drive iPods are at risk.
Fedak pointed me to a pilot’s blog: He had problems at 19,000ft unpressurized.
Hard drives work by levitating a head a very small distance from the media; unlike floppy or tape, where the media actually touches the head. The distance between the rotating media and the head is regulated using a very small wing on the head. The head literally ‘flys’ above the media.
When the pressure inside the drive is reduced, the wing will need a higher angle of attack, until finally the wing stalls, and the head impacts the media. The term in the industry for this behavior is called a ‘head crash’. Very apropos, no?