Apple Europe has exclusively told Macworld of its plans to offer Europe's iPod owners battery replacement and AppleCare packages soon.

This follows the company's decision to do so in the US in November. Online campaigners have been deeply critical of the usable life of Apple's music player, complaining that its battery lasts just 18-months. This allegation is open to question, but Apple is responding to meet its users needs, the company's moves suggest.

Apple's European PR manager exclusively Alan Hely told Macworld: "The iPod Out-of-Warranty Battery Replacement Program recently launched in the US will soon be launched in Europe. So too will AppleCare for iPod."

It means Europe's iPod-hungry shoppers can buy Apple's market-leading music player, knowing that "an iPod purchased for the holiday season will be covered".

The move also means iPod owners will be able to use the battery replacement service "should they experience a depleted battery".

As with any Apple Protection Plan, AppleCare for iPod will be available for iPod customers within their one-year limited warranty.

This means "customers can protect their iPod by buying AppleCare for iPod at a later time when it becomes available in Europe," Hely said.

European pricing has not yet been announced.