The wildly popular Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPod is seen as the answer to flagging sales of the company's core computer products. However, news agencies today mined a nugget of class action lawsuit news out of Apple's quarterly regulatory filing, shedding a slightly less positive light on the iPod.

As of late December, a series of class action lawsuits had been launched in California. The iPod may be infinitely cool, but the lawsuits imply some customers thought Apple exceedingly uncool about the gadget's lithium battery.

Apple's had an extremely successful renaissance based on the hip iPod, bringing to mind the possibility that the company might become a new name in consumer electronics. During its first quarter this year, it sold out of iPods; there are reportedly about 2 million of the gizmos out there, keeping users up to their ears in tunes.

Controversy, however, has been building behind the scenes. In January, MTV News reported rumblings of customer dissatisfaction regarding juice. Despite Apple's claim that the iPod contains eight hours of battery life per charge, some customers reported that as time wore on, they only got a fraction of that; some also said that the problems began after the one-year warranty expired.

According to MTV, a young man named Casey Neistat claimed that Apple's only solution to his problem was for him to buy himself a new iPod or pay dearly for the repair. Last fall, he launched a website that contained a video of himself spray painting the words, "iPod's unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months" throughout New York City. Talk about some "power to the people" press.

Since then, Apple offers a better solution than supposedly blithely suggesting customers replace the whole iPod; it now offers a $99 replacement battery or a $59 extended warranty. However, some still grumble that common sense should have ruled over Apple's well-known design tendencies. For example, some argue that a less aesthetic vehicle juiced by old-fashioned AA batteries would have been better, sort of like the Sony (NYSE:SNE) Walkman, an earlier generation's answer to portable music.

If the lawsuit flies, one can imagine a hefty price tag for Apple to repair or replace juiceless iPods launched prior to its new plan. More than that, Apple has come between avid iPod users and their music. That in itself may yet prove costlier to the company.

Want to talk about iPods and Apple? Have you had any similar problems with your iPod's battery? Key up the Apple or Apple User's Group discussion boards to talk about the company and its products with other Fools.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned; however, she is a longtime Macintosh user.