Apple denies DRM in new iPod shuffle headphones, but confirms licensing fee

By on March 17, 2009, 3:02 PM
Following on from speculation that the new iPod shuffle has an authentication chip in its in-line remote as a means to force third-party manufacturers to pay a licensing fee in order to produce compatible headphones, Apple has finally decided to shed some light on the matter. Turns out, the chip is meant for use with the ‘Made for iPod’ program alone and there is no encryption or authentication.


This means that clones can still be made – just not with the official Apple certification. Those who want to sell sanctioned headphones will have to buy the chip from Apple, apparently for less than $1 in a bundle with a $2 microphone, and probably pass along the cost to consumers. But even though unofficial headphones will be allowed, the move gives Apple further control over third party accessories (and an extra revenue stream), seeing as eschewing Made for iPod certification could put products in disadvantage against competitors.




User Comments: 12

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yukka said:
I dont like the level of control that Apple are trying to impose here but that extends to alot of their hardware. I am spending more time on a daily basis with Apple products at work and I find myself asking "why do they do is that way" more and more often (mini displayport, macpro batteries, silly shaped powerbricks, the eternal "cant install mac OS in a virtual machine on anything other than bloody mac OS"). Then people that know nothing about computers except how to turn them on come into the office, see a Mac on the table and say "Oh you have some REAL computers now"..
nazartp said:
Silly, isn't it?I understand the merits of bundling the hardware and their OS (otherwise they would end up in the same boat with Microsoft dealing with billions of configurations and thousands of hardware vendors), but charging a $1 for licensing of earphones?! Part of the popularity of the iPod in general is an abundance of the accessories, obviously they want to tap into that.I still don't get how Apple got this overall mass reputation as a "cool" and "good" company. They are in no shape or form better than Microsoft with their policies on the OS, Apple Store, iTunes (thank god that's changed somewhat), now licensing of damn earphones.
jink said:
Having some element of control over the end-user's experience is important to Apple. One of the things that differentiates Apple from the "pack" is elegant hardwaresoftware design and usability. Some may argue with the choices they make in-order to achieve this end, but I for one (most of the time) appreciate the end result. Having extensively used countless systems and software over the years, I am more than happy to spend an extra dollar or two to get a MacMachine rather than a McMachine.[Edited by jink on 2009-03-17 15:44:56]
nazartp said:
[b]Originally posted by jink:[/b][quote]Having some element of control over the end-user's experience is important to Apple. One of the things that differentiates Apple from the "pack" is elegant hardwaresoftware design and usability. Some may argue with the choices they make in-order to achieve this end, but I for one (most of the time) appreciate the end result. Having extensively used countless systems and software over the years, I am more than happy to spend an extra dollar or two to get a MacMachine rather than a McMachine.[Edited by jink on 2009-03-17 15:44:56][/quote]Sorry, I beg to disagree on the control of the "user experience." How is selling a chip to manufacture earphones controls end user experience? Would it control the quality of the sound drivers or the shape of the earpieces? Apple Store - yep, sell all the software you want out of your store, but why stiffle the competition? Include a provision in EULA that you are not responsible for third party software and/or void the warranty.I understand, they made a conscious decision about the way they control their market, but I'm getting pretty tired of their practices. Unfortunately, the end result also tend to be more and more disappointing.
jink said:
a) Apple wished to remove surface controls from their smallest ipod for design reasons you either like or don't. If you don't, don't buy it.b) To control the new ipod that has no surface controls, the functionality was added to the headphone.c) This functionality and possibly future functionality requires a chip for implementation. Apple makes this chip and sells it. Of course Apple can't vouch for the reliability of a similar chip manufactured from a Third-Party instead. No company could or would.Chill.
nazartp said:
[b]Originally posted by jink:[/b][quote]c) This functionality and possibly future functionality requires a chip for implementation. Apple makes this chip and sells it. Of course Apple can't vouch for the reliability of a similar chip manufactured from a Third-Party instead. No company could or would.[/quote]Yeah, right. Somehow ATI is good enough to produce graphics cards for their computers but would be forced to buy a chip from Apple to make earphones. Certify the manufacturing process and be done with it. Nothing but money-grabbing. Not that there is anything wrong with money-grabbing per se, just coming from Apple with their "unstained" image it is quite funny.You gotta look at the whole picture. This chip is just one little piece of it. I gave a couple of other examples from Apple practices that are equally unpleasant in a sort of minor nagging sense. Nothing to truly upset the DoJ in terms of anti-competitive practices, but still hurting the end customer.
jink said:
Any action can be viewed from either a positive or negative perspective. It is the overall merit and intentions of those involved in relationship to the action that determines the fruit the tree will bear, if at all. Keep your intentions pure and look for the same in others.
mctommy said:
I think this is rather dumb.I'd actually go out and buy a new ipod shuffle if it wasn't for this new remote earphones. I own expensive earphones and will never use crappy apple/mac earphones. At the very least make a design so that people can add their own quality earphones/headphones instead of the crappiest sounding earphones in the market. I mean creative and other companies who sell mp3 players have provided the consumer with earphones of better quality than ipods...The ability of using your own earphones, better quality ones, and ones that fit just can't be used on these... adios ipod shuffle...
scud1337 said:
This is also bad as you can't connect this shuffle to your HiFi,be it in your car or at home, wonder if Apple will produce a cable for that....
windmill007 said:
I vote with my $$... NONE TO APPLE! There is always way cheaper better alternatives!
yukka said:
Im not jumping on the generic "***** at apple" bandwagon. I just dont always "get it".
nazartp said:
I'm, actually, not "bitching the Apple." I own iPod Touch and think it's a pretty good device that meets my personal requirements for quality, convenience and functionality. My general disdain is with the overall image of Apple that's created with general public, that this particular corporation's reputation is as white as their sticker that comes with iPod. They are clearly no worse and no better than Microsoft, they are just less relevant, except for MP3 players, and, therefore, fly under the radar of the DoJ.
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