Thinking Of Buying The New iPod Shuffle?…. You May Want To Rethink That…

You’ll recall that I said the following when I posted the original story about the iPod Shuffle:

First, the controls for the new iPod Shuffle are on the headset. Can you say “Cha Chnig” as there’s no third party products that work with this iPod (yet?).

I didn’t know the half of it. Apparently, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says the only third party accessories that work with the iPod shuffle are ones that have an “authentication chip” on them:

Normally, of course, independent headphone makers could simply reverse engineer the interface. The “authentication chip” is there so that Apple’s lawyers can invoke the DMCA to block those efforts. So this shows us, yet again, what DRM is for — not stopping piracy, but rather impeding competition and innovation.

By the way, DRM stands for Digital Rights Management (a.k.a. copy protection) and this link will fill in the blanks on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

And iLounge goes further:

This is, in short, a nightmare scenario for long-time iPod fans: are we entering a world in which Apple controls and taxes literally every piece of the iPod purchase from headphones to chargers, jacking up their prices, forcing customers to re-purchase things they already own, while making only marginal improvements in their functionality? It’s a shame, and one that consumers should feel empowered to fight.

Apple has done things like this in the past. For example, when the new iPod Nano and the iPhone 3G came out, it was noted by iLounge that the way that the device charged itself had changed, rendering many accessories that had charging capablities useless for that purpose. They did say this at the time:

As we noted with the release of the iPhone 3G, Apple alerted developers to this change quite some time ago, so the only people who will be surprised will be the many users with incompatible accessories, including some high-end car kits. Thankfully, it doesn’t disable most accessories entirely, but it’s yet another example of a disconnect between Apple’s “Made For iPod” program and the customers who have relied upon it to purchase add-ons.

This time my friends, this is a disconnect of epic proportions. Currently were are stuck with Apple only accessories. When third party accessories finally surface, you can bet they won’t be cheap as those companies are likely going to have to pay Apple to make sure that Steve Jobs pockets continue to be lined with cash some sort of licensing fee. As a result, I say that the best way for consumers to fight this is not to buy the iPod Shuffle. Or, you can buy the previous generation iPod Shuffle since they’re still available (for now).

Either way, voting with your dollars is the best way to tell Apple that this sort of behaviour sucks.

2 Responses to “Thinking Of Buying The New iPod Shuffle?…. You May Want To Rethink That…”

  1. Wow, hostile much? Any chance you’re going to post a retraction, now that most of the paranoid delusions spouted from folks like yourselves and the EFFA, have been proven to be completely false? How anyone possibly believed this had anything to do with DRM, I’ll never know.

    But, I guess you can always say that it’s not just Apple, but also Scosche, and Monster, and Klipsch, and … are all “in on it” – whatever “it” is. Right?

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