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Third-party iPod shuffle headphones will require Apple-licensed authentication chip

Nilay Patel
03.15.09
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Sigh, it looks like Apple's habit of squeezing iPod accessory manufacturers for license fees has now extended to freaking headphones -- iLounge is reporting that the new iPod shuffle can only be controlled by headphones with a special hardware authentication chip. That means that third parties will have to pay Apple for the privilege of making shuffle-compatible accessories, and you can bet they'll just pass that cost right on to consumers -- we wouldn't expect any cheap headphone adapters or inexpensive replacement headphones for the littlest iPod. iLounge calls this a "nightmare scenario" for iPod fans, and we're inclined to agree -- it's one thing for Apple to require the Made For iPod certification for accessories that interface with the dock connector, but trying to lock down headphones is a sad new low, and it makes the lack of physical controls on the shuffle seem even more ridiculous. Anyone still planning on buying this thing?

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