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New iPod Shuffle locks out third party headphones

New iPod Shuffle locks out third party headphones

Without compatible headphones, you can't change the volume on the new iPod Shuffle, or skip tracks.

Apple may have finally wised up to the fact that no one likes DRM in its iTunes store, but it looks as though the trendy tech company still has some way to go when it comes to being over-protective of its hardware. The newly revamped iPod Shuffle reportedly doesn't function properly with any headphones that aren’t made by Apple, as third party headphones now need to contain an Apple authentication chip to function with the small, 4GB flash device.

According to iLounge, which has recently reviewed the new iPod Shuffle, the use of third-party headphones will result in the iPod Shuffle being stuck at one volume level, and you won’t be able to skip tracks or pause the player either.

The iPod Shuffle itself only has controls for switching off the machine and setting the playback mode to shuffle your tracks or play them in order. The rest of the usual control features are performed by a remote control on the headphones, but the need for a new authentication chip means that all current third-party iPod headphones with a remote control will not be able to control the device.

Worse still, says the site, no compatible third-party headphones or remote control adaptors have entered the manufacturing stage yet. Plus, Apple currently has no plans to make a remote control adaptor that functions with the Shuffle either. According to the site, the price of a compatible set of headphones currently starts at $49 US (£34.64). Of course, the need to include a new piece of silicon in the headphones will also push up the price of a third-party set of headphones too.

Do consumers have a right to choose which headphones they want to use with their MP3 player, or is Apple just making an acceptable business decision here? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

Via Engadget.

37 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
BioSniper 16th March 2009, 10:13 Quote
I think the title is misleading actually. Do they really reject the headphones or is it that third part headphones are incompatible and require the inline controller which is why they get stuck at a specific volune (probably the last one you were using) and cant skip tracks because the buttons are simply not present anyway.
steveo_mcg 16th March 2009, 10:16 Quote
Oh for goodness sake, the first thing most folk people with any sense of sound do is plug decent phones into those things, the apple ones were rubbish last time i used an ipod (last year, brothers video one) but i can't see them sounding any better any time soon. Besides that they seem to be the worlds worst for tinny noise pollution on the bus, need legislation to force people to use closed cans in public :)

Edit: just read the article and can't see a picture of the remote but it doesn't sound like the in-line remote has a 3.5 jack as i imagined it would so yeah i think biosnipers right, its not that the ipod won't accept third party devices but that third party devices can't control the ipod.


'nother edit: just reread the article and yes the remote is hard wired to the cable. The controls for the ipod are part of the headphones thus why third party devices. Whether that vindicates them or not depends on your point of view i suppose.
http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/apple-ipod-shuffle-third-generation/P1
DXR_13KE 16th March 2009, 10:29 Quote
just hack them up....

http://techspank.com/?p=215
Baz 16th March 2009, 10:50 Quote
Step 1: Produce Shuffle with headphone chip
Step 2 ???
Step 3: PROFIT!
bubsterboo 16th March 2009, 10:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BioSniper
I think the title is misleading actually. Do they really reject the headphones or is it that third part headphones are incompatible and require the inline controller which is why they get stuck at a specific volune (probably the last one you were using) and cant skip tracks because the buttons are simply not present anyway.

Pretty sure they really reject them. It's just like with the iphone and it's accessories. You can't use a 3rd party AV cable for the iphone because it requires a chip to authenticate itself. Although now there is a software hack you can do if your iphones jailbroken, but that's beside the point.

I guess all this nonsense apples been doing is to keep prevent cheap knockoff accessories.
Jamie 16th March 2009, 10:54 Quote
The new shuffle has a touch sensitive volume control on the earphone cable. The shuffle is a pretty niche market anyway, I wonder if there are any stats on how many previous gen shuffle users use third party earphones. I'm sure third party earphones will appear on the market, it's just new tech that nobody has had a chance to support yet.

I think this is a pretty biased article, bit-tech != Daily Mail.
steveo_mcg 16th March 2009, 10:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
The new shuffle has a touch sensitive volume control on the earphone cable. The shuffle is a pretty niche market anyway, I wonder if there are any stats on how many previous gen shuffle users use third party earphones. I'm sure third party earphones will appear on the market, it's just new tech that nobody has had a chance to support yet.

My mother, the only person i know with one but she hated the apple ones she found them uncomfortable so she got a set of the rubbery sit in your ear canal ones that she prefers. Course the battery on her 2g one has gone and i was going to get her a 3g for her birthday but i'll not bother now. Only reason i care tbh.
proxess 16th March 2009, 11:11 Quote
This is just plain rubbish. Authentic hardware? What a load of rubbish!
n3mo 16th March 2009, 11:33 Quote
What, is anyone actually surprised? This is Apple we're talking about here, milking idiots since 1976.
Spiny 16th March 2009, 11:55 Quote
Headphone FAIL
Nikumba 16th March 2009, 12:02 Quote
If it turns out to be true about the chip, then I hope the EU smacks Apple with a fine like they did to MS.

Putting an auth chip in is nothing short of trying to monoplise the headphone market for that device.

Kimbie
biebiep 16th March 2009, 12:11 Quote
Apple fails again

If you're buying an apple, you buy into the zombo.com way of life. Everything's there and don't go messing with it.
Really now, how many real techies use an iPod? Everyone knows Cowon/Sony does 100x more for the same or a lesser price.
perplekks45 16th March 2009, 12:22 Quote
The EU might actually fine Apple... in 2020, judging by the speed they normally show.
I think that's a pretty lame move by Apple but then again, I'm not too surprised. They're getting better with third party hardware support, very slowly and I think they should hurry.
Burnout21 16th March 2009, 12:26 Quote
hacky hack hack,

its all because of the built in remote.

Of course the best mod would be to cut the wire after the remote and solder in a 3.5mm inline jack, so the ear phones used can be switched out when needed, rather than destoying the cable.

i tend too break ear phones
SNIPERMikeUK 16th March 2009, 12:52 Quote
iPod headphones suck arse, and Apple know that they can sell their overpriced silicone bud ones if they lock 3rd parties out, this is like microsoft not allowing 3rd parties to make wireless peripherals (knowing that their D-Pad is rubbish).

Really what have Apple got to lose they sell the iPod bundles with headphones, and the buyer chooses to upgrade, where is the issue?
yodasarmpit 16th March 2009, 12:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNIPERMikeUK


Really what have Apple got to lose they sell the iPod bundles with headphones
£35 on replacement headphones when you eventually need a replacement set.
fodder 16th March 2009, 13:16 Quote
No surprise here, except it's taken Apple this long to realise they are missing a quick buck.

I mean, come on, for years Apple has been engineering the need for 'proprietry' accessories into their units. Why change a successful marketing strategy?
markwalker84 16th March 2009, 13:20 Quote
What a joke.

Apart from the (IMHO) obvious design flaw of having the ONLY controls in the headphone cable, locking out 3rd party headphones is just plain stupid! I know apple fanboys will hail it as the greatest idea ever but surely this is a step to far? Even the target "gym-goer" of the shuffle isnt going to be impressed with this i wouldn't have thought.

Sansa clip for me everytime!
- Cheaper.
- Use my own (decent) headphones.
- Not really much bigger.
- Doesn't have a stupid in-line remote that will bounce around and generally be annoying.
- I dont have to learn eleventy billion combinations of button presses just to pause the damn thing.
DarkLord7854 16th March 2009, 13:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3mo
What, is anyone actually surprised? This is Apple we're talking about here, milking idiots since 1976.

Exactly what I was thinking :)
Goty 16th March 2009, 13:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubsterboo
Quote:
Originally Posted by BioSniper
I think the title is misleading actually. Do they really reject the headphones or is it that third part headphones are incompatible and require the inline controller which is why they get stuck at a specific volune (probably the last one you were using) and cant skip tracks because the buttons are simply not present anyway.

Pretty sure they really reject them. It's just like with the iphone and it's accessories. You can't use a 3rd party AV cable for the iphone because it requires a chip to authenticate itself. Although now there is a software hack you can do if your iphones jailbroken, but that's beside the point.

I guess all this nonsense apples been doing is to keep prevent cheap knockoff accessories.

It doesn't reject third party headphones, you just can't change the track or adjust the volume if you use a third-party set.
yodasarmpit 16th March 2009, 14:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goty
It doesn't reject third party headphones, you just can't change the track or adjust the volume if you use a third-party set.
That's quite a limitation, however it's up to Apple at the end of the day.
They are selling a whole product, part of which is the headphones with built in controls.
There are plenty other products on the market if you are not a fan of apple headphones.
Tris 16th March 2009, 14:18 Quote
I have seen this reported elsewhere, but was under the impression this was all speculation based on an unidentified chip found when dissecting a set of the apple headphones.
Baz 16th March 2009, 14:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by markwalker84
Sansa clip for me everytime!

/concur

Sansa Clip is the best tiny Mp3 player out there -8GB, awesome sound quality, - it even plays .flac!
HourBeforeDawn 16th March 2009, 15:21 Quote
Another reason why I hate Apple....
identikit 16th March 2009, 15:50 Quote
I'm just waiting until they come up with a shuffle so small it's just earbuds! Imagine all the haters!
mclintox 16th March 2009, 16:37 Quote
As much as i like some of Apple's stuff it's their "You will use our products how we tell you to!" attitude that put me off.You shell out top money for their kit and are dictated to on how you must use it.Once I pay my readies,I will use something however i see fit!
wafflesomd 16th March 2009, 17:00 Quote
There is always a better alternative to what apple provides. At a much cheaper cost.

Why does anyone even consider apple when making a purchase?
lamboman 16th March 2009, 17:17 Quote
For a company that really, really wants their products to sell, this has to be the most stupid move in a long, long time...Apple KNOW that their stock headphones suck and are unsuitable for use when jogging, and they know that other people are going to buy other, non-Apple stuff (sales from their store), so what the hell are they doing? Truly amazing. Bit like my iTouch. After jailbreaking it, I now realise even more just how stupid Apple are being. How much profit would they lose from enabling Bluetooth, for example? Virtually none, with nobody using their iPods for wireless music. Bluetooth headsets? Again, minimal. As for everything else, they get no profit from free stuff...they suck harder than ever.
bigsharn 16th March 2009, 17:54 Quote
YES! I can upgrade my anti-apple-ness, 95% here I come :)


But seriously, I can see a few fanboys turning away from Apple because of this, what's the point in a pair of headphones that sound crap? you NEED Skullcandy or similar :)
cheeriokilla 16th March 2009, 18:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsharn
YES! I can upgrade my anti-apple-ness, 95% here I come :)


But seriously, I can see a few fanboys turning away from Apple because of this, what's the point in a pair of headphones that sound crap? you NEED Skullcandy or similar :)

Skullcandy? Did you mean Sennheiser.

See what I did there?
HourBeforeDawn 16th March 2009, 19:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclintox
As much as i like some of Apple's stuff it's their "You will use our products how we tell you to!" attitude that put me off.You shell out top money for their kit and are dictated to on how you must use it.Once I pay my readies,I will use something however i see fit!

no my favorite is how they charge you to make apps for their iphone and what not lol, "Apple - yes pay us to make our product better" .... Apple is far from the days of "we are fighting Big Blue to be non conformance" lol boy look at them now, they are worse...
Mr T 16th March 2009, 22:33 Quote
This report has now been proven bogus...

http://www.macrumors.com/2009/03/16/no-drm-in-headphones-for-new-ipod-shuffle/

Although the clip still does something hummmmmmmm
ryall 17th March 2009, 00:38 Quote
Apple and I have a deal:

They continue to tell me what I can and can't do with their products and I continue to not buy them.
automagsrock 17th March 2009, 07:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryall
Apple and I have a deal:

They continue to tell me what I can and can't do with their products and I continue to not buy them.

Hahaha. That seems like a pretty sweet deal you have with them
SnowCat 17th March 2009, 10:29 Quote
Who needs an Apple player anyway? Sony has a nice line up with direct copy of mp3s, better battery life, better sound and better phones in the box.
Snuffles 18th March 2009, 03:03 Quote
Reason number 8648 - not to buy an iPod
melthebestbell 2nd January 2010, 01:32 Quote
I just ordered one of these off the net, and I was hoping to plug in a pair of sports headphones and use it for runs, because one of the reviews on Amazon said that the earphones provided with the shuffle come out easily.
Despite this fact, one of the 3rd generation shuffle's strongest selling points is the fact that it's meant to be so handy for workouts - it's the first part of their demo.

It's pretty damn unfair they had to go and pull something like this ---> if not for the fact that there aren't compatible sports earphones, it would probably be the perfect workout music player.
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