Apple confirms presence of proprietary chip in shuffle headphones, licensing fee

Nilay Patel
N. Patel|03.16.09

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A flurry of news broke out over yesterday regarding the proprietary headphones required by Apple's new iPod shuffle, and now that Monday's here and everyone's back in the office, some things are starting to get cleared up. For starters, both Macworld and Boing Boing Gadgets have confirmed with Apple and various third-party vendors that the new shuffle headphones do in fact contain a proprietary control chip, and that would-be headphone makers have to pay to license it from Apple as part of the Made for iPod program. Yep, that's bad news, confirmed -- but all hope for inexpensive accessories isn't lost, as we're told that the chip isn't encrypted or otherwise locked down in any way, so it's easily cloned by companies who'd rather not pay. Still, eschewing Made for iPod certification pretty much dooms a product to niche status in the Apple universe, so it's a pretty weak consolation -- when this all shakes out, we're guessing only Apple-taxed headphones will be widely available for the shuffle, and that makes the value proposition somewhat hard to see. Just say no, people.

Read - Macworld
Read - BBG
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