I had my iPod, which I do not over-use, since 2005 and never had any kind of problems. Nevertheless, it is true that Apple do not emphasize longevity by releasing new iPods and laptops every year.
True, I've heard of people who have had their iPods for upward to two years. Apple does have good ideas, but much like Chinese pseudo-communism, they stole them from someone else, and there is a lot more that you lose than you gain in the long run.http://thetyee.ca/Books/2006/08/01/MadeToBreak/
It's mentioned in this article that the iPod is designed to be a throwaway product.
A relative purchased me an iPod nano a month ago as a joke, and I accepted it without complaint, so I took the opportunity to check out Apple's quality product, seeing how my Creative Zen of 3 years let some hard drive failure put it out of work. (It had a BIOS and a diagnostic recovery mode apparently; reminiscent of a tiny computer ^.^)
So far: The screen is crooked, the album art gets corrupted into some green glitchy crap after I upload it, duplicate album entries (Two Karelian Isthmuses), sometimes the album art gets set to all one image (Every band gets the Filosofem cover), the iPod sets off store alarms when I take it with me, and the iPod likes to reset itself even when I'm sitting completely still. It also crashes when I scroll through cover flow mode. The 3rd party software works better than iTunes. iTunes requires you to have a membership in order for it to update album art automatically, and to sign up for membership, you need a credit card number, and I don't use that shit. I have also had to reformat the iPod twice for whatever reason.
It does play music and store data, but it seems that it's too much of a hassle and it's not worth the money.