Want to use headphones designed and manufactured by a third-party with the latest iPod shuffle? Well, Apple has decided to make that difficult. Not only because it decided to move the controls off the device itself and onto the headphones, but because a group of people have also found a mysterious chip inside these controls and believe that it might be the company's latest step towards a more strict marketing drive.
You see, headphone makers could normally just reverse engineer the interface to build their own compatible accessories. However, if this is indeed confirmed to be an “authentication chip,” Apple could squeeze a few extra bucks in licensing fees from third-party manufacturers or otherwise have the DMCA thrown at them. We will have to wait for the company to make an official statement but it nevertheless remains a fact that without the inline remote there’s no way to usefully operate the shuffle. So, users who prefer using third party headphones will at the very least be forced to buy an extra accessory.