New iPod Shuffle locks out third party headphones

Written by Ben Hardwidge

March 16, 2009 // 10:05 a.m.

Tags: #4gb #apple #authentication #chip #control #drm #headphones #ipod #lock #party #remote #shuffle #third

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.
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