LiOn battery issues (burst into flame!) have led to an Apple recall of the 1st generation iPod Nano. I dug out my neglected Nano and sent it to Apple in early November. I wasn't using it, but it is a good match to the gym. I figured I'd at least get a new battery. Apple announced they weren't going to replace them with new devices, just replace the battery.
Weeks went by. I began to wonder what was up; past recalls were processed very quickly.
Today it showed up -- but it was now an 8GB $130 6th generation Nano. It is a sweet device, even though it's an impractical wristwatch. A very nice improvement on the 1st generation; easy to clip to clothing, radio, more capacity, etc.
I think Apple did start out returning the original Nano, so I can't promise that won't happen in the future. It may be Apple got so backlogged on repairs that they decided they needed to ship something. Or perhaps the opportunity cost of the tedious repairs was balanced against the customer satisfaction of sending a vastly better replacement.
That would fit my recent experiences with Apple service, including iTunes Apple Store errors (all my problem, not Apple's) and an out of warranty iMac repair. Apple service used to be merely better than the competition, but I think they've kicked it up a notch. Talk about crushing the competition.
It would be very nice if customer service were to rise from the dead across the economy. Retailers do follow Apple now ...