Apple puts DRM on new iPod Shuffle hardware

Most of you will know that Apple recently unveiled their new iPod Shuffle, much to everyone's surprise. Well, it appears that there have been some dirty secrets uncovered about the new device: according to iLounge, Apple has put DRM in the hardware to prevent you from using any earphones that you want.

You read that correctly. You will either have to use Apple earphones, or a third-party product which incorporates an 'Apple authentification chip', if you want to use the new device. iLounge had these words to offer about the topic: "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." Apparently the device will still work and play music, but you won't be able to change volume or tracks, unless, as mentioned, the headphones have the chip in them.

The EFF also said that, "If it were Microsoft demanding that computer peripherals all include Microsoft 'authentication chips' in order to work with Windows (or Toyota or Ford doing the same for replacement parts), I'd think reviewers would be screaming about it."

So far, Apple's new iPod Shuffle has had mixed reviews, and this certainly doesn't help the Cupertino-based company. What do you think about this?

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This is just bad.

This is the sort of things that keep me from buying an iPod.

I really do like the iPod Touch. In fact if you consider the hardware only it's my favorite mp3 player on the marker. That thing is so sexy it screams buy me buy me when i look at it.

I really wish Apple would open the iPod line a little more. I don't want to install iTune to transfer music to my mp3 player. And i want to stay away from drm. I can understand Apple not letting you install free 3rd party apps found on internet (after all MS don't let you do this with the 360 either) but i want to have more freedom with the things i buy than Apple is giving me with the iPods.

I will keep my Sansa running Rockbox.

Actually let me correct myself, it's not the people at iLounge that are at fault for this misinterpreted article but Sam Symons is. I just read the whole review at iLounge, and nowhere do they even mention hardware DRM limiations, the only thing they say is that an authentication chip will placed in new headphones to come to comply that the remote works properly. They even use a 3rd party headphones to test the sound quality in the review. This article is a complete misinterpritation of the review. This should be either removed, edited, or a new article should be written apologizing for starting a false rumor.

pepo said,
Actually let me correct myself, it's not the people at iLounge that are at fault for this misinterpreted article but Sam Symons is. I just read the whole review at iLounge, and nowhere do they even mention hardware DRM limiations, the only thing they say is that an authentication chip will placed in new headphones to come to comply that the remote works properly. They even use a 3rd party headphones to test the sound quality in the review. This article is a complete misinterpritation of the review. This should be either removed, edited, or a new article should be written apologizing for starting a false rumor.

Especially since now news sites are reporting that Apple is in fact NOT using any DRM.

The headphones are simply using a remote control chip that sends signals to the device, which Apple has stated anyone can copy - They just will not receive "Made for iPod' status; just as a lot of 3rd party headphones don't now.

If a 3rd party company wishes to embrace the shuffle enough to add this type of chip to their line, they can.

End of story.

Binary said,
Especially since now news sites are reporting that Apple is in fact
NOT
using any DRM.

The headphones are simply using a remote control chip that sends signals to the device, which Apple has stated anyone can copy - They just will not receive "Made for iPod' status; just as a lot of 3rd party headphones don't now.

If a 3rd party company wishes to embrace the shuffle enough to add this type of chip to their line, they can.

End of story.


Hum

I guess what i wrote under this post doesn't apply then. I still hate iTune though

^ That's not the point, the article states you cannot use other headphones period, because of some authentication chip.

Let us stop talking about the no controls part and talk about the validation of this article! And wheather it is true or not.

And as I stated in my previous post, it cannot be true because people have already checked and know it works with other headphones, regardless of controls.

Whatever the people at iLounge found, it isn't what they think it is.

If you want the new Shuffle to work as intended you must buy Apple-approved headphones. End of story. The issue is not whether other headphones will function. OSX will run on a non-Apple PC, but that's not working as intended. Should Apple just allow it, then?

I don't understand how this article is valid, when numerouse reviews and people who already own one, have said you can still connect any headphphones or speakers to it and it will automatically play at the volume level it was used at last time.

I think the article is bull****.

How convenient is it to you to swap your headphones every time you needed to change the volume? Would it be ok to have a car work similarly? You must take out your spark plugs and reinsert them to start the car...

The bottom line's that as it is now your choices for headphones with the new Shuffle are extremely limited if you don't want to shell out extra cash for the authentication chip that 'phone manufacturers will almost certainly pass on to the consumer. This might not be digital, but it is DEFINITELY rights management, and works on the same principles and rationales behind DRM.

If it stll plays the music, it's not DRM. Thanks for lying, Sam Symons.


I know the new shuffle has the controls on a cord coming from the unit, this is to decrease its size. This probably has more to do with the controls than the headphones. People are always so quick to complain about everything.

DRM doesn't only deal with music. It's copy and usage control. This qualifies. If it were just the controls they could have included a "dongle" headphone cord with a plug for your own phones on the control nodule, but they didn't.

GreyWolfSC said,
DRM doesn't only deal with music. It's copy and usage control. This qualifies. If it were just the controls they could have included a "dongle" headphone cord with a plug for your own phones on the control nodule, but they didn't.


Then why does the article say "or a third-party product which incorporates an 'Apple authentification chip', if you want to use the new device. "
Sounds like a dongle to me. It's just not included in the box, has to be purchased separate. You can still use any headphones you want.

The shuffle is a waste of money, here in new zealand, why spend all that money, when you can get a cheap mp3 player from the local computer shop!

This article is pure FUD. Does anyone even know what the licensing fees are going to be, if any, for the control chip? The assumption a lot of you are making is that Apple removed the unit controls just so they could block 3rd party headphones without getting a cut of the action. The restrictions in playback features when using a regular set of headphones are due to the player not having any controls, not electronic restrictions due to "DRM".

Well it states that hardware manufacturers will need to use an authentication chip and given Apple has already done this in the past with the dock connector which prevented older docks being able to output video on newer iPods then sure, I really wouldn't put it past Apple that this was a deliberate move.

I've been begging my cousin not to buy another iPod after two have already kicked the bucket on her, but nope. Apparently ipods are "kewl" and all other brands are lame. So it's not really a portable music player, it's a trendy fashion accessory. Whatever, it's not my money.

yeah its just that its "kewl" cause it way more expensive than any "lame" players which by the way can kick the ass of any iPod variant not only in features but ,more importantly, in sound quality as well. has anybody tried comparing the sound quality of "kewl" iPod vs "lame" -insert underrated player brand here-? iPod sound quality sucks. but deluded iPod owners are clueless so i leave them to their ignorance.

btw, +1 on "it's a trendy fashion accessory".

on the subject of the headphone, this new iPod Shuffle headphone design means you can't buy any other brand (which can somehow enhance the sound quality of an iPod) which leaves new iPod users even more clueless what real sound quality is. good luck with your trebles cause you will never hear bass again. do not break or loose your new fangled headphones or you have to shell out more $ for that. XD.

What makes this DRM? The simple fact that the headphone cord could have been a 2" stub with the controls on the plug where the headphones of your choice would be inserted. They are restricting your Right to Manage your own Digital entertainment and use the cans you want. You must use the ones they authorize by licensing the chip. That is DRM at its core.

I'm thinking this is aimed at people who want a "complete solution" i.e. they will be more than happy to use the Apple headphones that come with it, don't already have any other ones... I can see this being bought as a "first MP3 player" for a lot of people..

Presumably they are keeping control over who can make the controller chip in the headphones in order to ensure only good quality ones get made.. still, I think it's all a rather bad move on their part.

Maybe that's the reason why they removed buttons on the new shuffle......

Anyway, I think the new shuffle is doomed to fail either way...

Why anybody would buy this junk is beyond me... i can't see one thing that puts it ahead of the competition besides the apple branding, but do see plenty of things that put it behind.

Apple usual monopoly crap. No suprises that they don't have a lot of market share. Marginals and lovin' it....

how in the hell would you use this without the original headphones anyways considering the inline controls and all aren't exactly standard on your everyday run of the mill dollar store headphones..its the same that it has always been with apple...only their crap works with their crap..period

There's been a lot of criticism on the tech sites about the new shuffle, most of which I don't agree with but requiring an apple licensed chip for the controls to work is extremely dictatorial. I think that this is on of there worst moves in a long time.

... IMHO (not that I matter to anyone anyhow), it is DRM: "Digital Rights Management". They are using digital electronics to restrict your right to choose which headphones you wish to use, much like traditional DRM restricts your ability to play your music on any device you choose.
... again IMHO, more likely than not... it's done to make it extremely difficult for you to plug a recording device in to the headphone jack and record your music in the order you want. I wouldn't be surprised to read a Neowin article down the road suggesting that Apple had to do this in order to continue (without modification to the terms) with it's agreements to the record companies, in much the same way that radio stations are generally not permitted to play listener requests immediately (on demand) or play multiple tracks from the same artist's album in sequence without some sort of royalty agreement or other permission.

. I wouldn't be surprised to read a Neowin article down the road suggesting that Apple had to do this in order to continue (without modification to the terms) with it's agreements to the record companies, in much the same way that radio stations are generally not permitted to play listener requests immediately (on demand) or play multiple tracks from the same artist's album in sequence without some sort of royalty agreement or other permission.

The sound comes out of any headphones you feel like plugging in. It's the "press and hold to make it talk to you" feature that isn't supposed to work.

The reasoning you propose is absolutely not reasonable.

evn. said,
The sound comes out of any headphones you feel like plugging in. It's the "press and hold to make it talk to you" feature that isn't supposed to work.

The reasoning you propose is absolutely not reasonable.

Why not quote the 'relevant' part of what I wrote: "...to make it extremely difficult for you to plug a recording device in to the headphone jack and record your music in the order you want.... "?
With other / traditional iPod's, you could plug in your recorder, record a song, pause recording, select the next song... etc.
Now you can't. Thus what I wrote is reasonable.

Yeah, because the industry is losing billions of dollars from rampant real-time analog recording of a user's own music library via the headphone jack on their portable media player.

Of course you could always cut the damn earbuds off and wire them in a stereo plug and be right back where we all were before the release of this technology.

Just because one is paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get his or her self.

How many times while growing up were you told to "just try" and received credit for the effort?

Wow, if Microsoft did this with their Zune, people and tech sites would be all nasty about it, saying yet another reason not to buy a Zune.

Sadly, I still think people are going to buy this abomination of a product.

I am sorry, but Apple is just plain stupid. They charge you WAY to much for a product and then tell you what you can and cannot do/use with it. This is total BS and it makes me want to toss my 30gb iPod video out the window and go buy a Zune or a Creative MP3 player. Regardless if there is a DRM or not, you are still told what kind of headphones you can and cannot use.

And I agree, if MS pulled this ****, they would be on every Tech site and people would be bitchin left and right. Seems Apple has done a good job in keeping their followers. Wonder when they are going to start serving the kool-aid.

also, it says you only need their headphones to change the track or volume... it's a shuffle so who cares about track changing, and lots of headphones have volume control built in the cord. so really you only need their headphones if you want to change the track.

Why would you NOT care about being able to change track. Just because it's designed for random play that doesn't mean the user won't want to skip the track when randomly it decides to play one they don't want to listen to at the time.

And plenty of headphones don't have volume knobs. Infact pretty much all mid to high end one's won't.

This article is very misleading. All these people think that Apple have put some sort of lock device on this shuffle. There are buttons on the headphones themselves that allow to change songs and volume, and u need compatible headphones. This is in no way, shape, or form, a hardware DRM.

In a sense, most of the 3rd party companies reverse engineer the thechnology, like Bose and their sounddocks. < snipped > - Calum

This is no different than what they are practicing to this day....google "Made for iPod logo"

Won't third parties have to obtain this chip in order to create headphones that will do this? I mean, a) they make a deal with Apple and Apple makes money, or b) reverse engineer the chip, which would probably be pointless anyway if a chip on the Shuffle will only accept Apple authorized headphones.

Now, whichever the third party decides to do, it doesn't not seem to be in their best interest unless being "authorized" is relatively cheap to the point where the manufacturers can rely on the consumer to purchase their new headphones.

Either way, those who like to run and such would have to buy a new headset just to run in comfort. Or, they can buy the current Shuffle or perhaps another mp3 player altogether and not have to worry about this crap at all.

they could just sell a tiny dongle that includes the chip and controls, that you plug your own headphones into. i'm sure $15 for that people would pay.

I wish Apple had instead taken this opportunity to try and make a standard for controls on headphones, instead of tying it up in red tape and fees. But when you pretty much have a monopoly over the mp3 player industry

Yeah, umm thats not DRM. You need a piece of hardware to send the right command to the iPod to tell it to go to the next track, which alot of headphones won't have, but since its an Apple product, will probably soon be added.

Fail article.


I wonder if I can use those headphones on my iPhone.

Then what is it if it isn't DRM? DRM is protection from using something other than what the manufacturer decides you will use. In song files it means you can only use a player that the music company has licensed in a way they chose to... In this case it means you can only use headphones Apple has allowed you too (regular earphones are a realistic option).

They then will pull the DMCA (the DRM protection law) to back their claim if any headphone maker reverse engineers their chip.

So explain to me how it isn't DRM...

Pc_Madness said,
Yeah, umm thats not DRM. You need a piece of hardware to send the right command to the iPod to tell it to go to the next track, which alot of headphones won't have, but since its an Apple product, will probably soon be added.

Fail article.


I wonder if I can use those headphones on my iPhone. :)

DRM would be making it illegal and taking to court any manufacturer who would produce headphones compatible with the new ipod shuffle commands. But there's a difference between "DRM" and "proprietary controls". Of course if they have their own special superchip, that's DRM.

Frazell Thomas said,
They then will pull the DMCA (the DRM protection law) to back their claim if any headphone maker reverse engineers their chip.

So explain to me how it isn't DRM...


DMCA protects copyrights (that's what the C stands for). These headphones in no way act as a copyright control (although patents probably do come into play), so the DMCA would not apply.

Julius Caro said,
Of course if they have their own special superchip, that's DRM.
The article states that it does infact require an "authentication chip" but. They did the same thing when they required dock manufacturers to get a license in order to be able to output video I believe.

Pc_Madness said,
I wonder if I can use those headphones on my iPhone. :)

According to iLounge, the iPhone headphones remote won't work with the shuffle, only the ipod earphones with remote and the new in ear earphones with remote. This prove that the shuffle need some kind of authentication chip, because even the older iPhone buds won't work.

roadwarrior said,


DMCA protects copyrights (that's what the C stands for). These headphones in no way act as a copyright control (although patents probably do come into play), so the DMCA would not apply.


Actually DMCA would apply.

http://www.eff.org/issues/dmca

Read the EFF write up to understand a bit more of what the DMCA covers. Also, the US is a common law country so court rulings are very important. Look at the cases that have utilized the DMCA. Lexmark used the DMCA to argue that third party ink manufacturers were violating its rights under the DMCA.

http://www.eff.org/cases/lexmark-v-static-...ol-case-archive

The basic way of understanding it is they argue the DMCA applies because the software on the device uses the DRM to protect itself. By reverse engineering the chip you're attempting to fool the software (which would be covered under US copyright law). It is the same argument the MPAA makes when they sue companies or people for ripping DVDs or BluRay movies (DVD and BluRay decrypting software is illegal in the US under the DMCA).

complaints...I can see them ending up in court over this very very easily. Both consumers and headphone manufacturers stand to be hurt by this.

This just prooves that Apple products are not worth buying with all the Garbage and headaches that come with it, Shame on you Apple for being Evil and bundling that Garbage and you know it yet you ignore it, Apple should be sued for the max but the woman should not be asking for payment for emotional problems.

The point is that it is a totally bad move. Now if you want some "quality" sound from the shuffle, your only option is to buy Apple's In Ear earphones with remotes. Those cost almost as much as the shuffle itself, and they're far from being the best quality phones. Earphone manufacturers could have made versions of their earphones with a remote so that they can actually be used with the shuffle, but they have to add the apple chip, which will make this products more expensive.

It's the same thing that Apple did with the 2007 iPods, adding another Apple chip for Video output, and breaking compatibility with every video cable and device released until then. This is totally disrespectful for both their 3rd party developers and customers, since we were forced to buy stuff we already had in order to make it compatible with our new iPods. One thing that has made the iPods so successful is the vast amount of accessories available for them, and Apple is screwing all of us by adding this locks to their new hardware.

Apple changed the video cable in the 2007 and later iPods in order to add the possibility of component video. The old cables were only able to do composite because of the number of contacts available in the headphone jack.

roadwarrior said,
Apple changed the video cable in the 2007 and later iPods in order to add the possibility of component video. The old cables were only able to do composite because of the number of contacts available in the headphone jack.

They could have kept compatibility with older accessories. There were a number of accessories used to output video through the dock connector, and most of them still worked with the new iPods if you plugged the iPod cable first to "unlock" the video signal and plugin in the named accessories immediately after disconnecting it. It was only because of the authentication chip that those cables didn't work with the new iPods.

Boo Freaking Hoo...
I fail to see how this is different than printer manufacturers putting chips on their ink cartridges. Yeah, it sucks, but third parties will always find a way around it, and business will go on.

From what I read, Neowin and a LOT of commenters are totally blowing this out of proportion. It's not DRM. It's nothing that Apple has deliberately put in to stop you from using other headphones. It's just a controller chip for the buttons that sends a signal to the iPod. There is nothing from stopping an enterprising third party from reverse engineering the chip. Hell, I have half a mind to bust out an oscilloscope and do it myself. It's just a matter of recognizing the codes and building a chip that duplicates them. There's no "security handshake" mechanism whereby the player sends encrypted signals to the chip and verifies that they are, in fact, Apple headphones.

Someone says "control chip" and everybody goes nuts. Sheesh.

Quit your whining and do the smart thing: vote with your wallet. If you don't like it, send a message to Apple by not buying it. It's that simple!

Edit: On another re-read of the article in question, it struck me that part of the confusion may come from how badly worded it is.

I think there is a lot of things stopping large headphone manufacturers from just reverse engineering the chip and putting it in their product without paying apple

cyberdrone2000 said,
It's nothing that Apple has deliberately put in to stop you from using other headphones.

Actually, that's exactly what they're doing seems like.

cyberdrone2000 said,
On another re-read of the article in question, it struck me that part of the confusion may come from how badly worded it is.

I can't help but wonder if it was written in a "badly worded" fashion on purpose.

Regardless, I wouldn't buy a Shuffle anyway. Size is not an issue for me, and I would prefer seeing what I am going to listen to.

So, this isn't actually DRM in any way shape or form?

Also, it appears that third-party headphones need a special chip - although not a security chip - to make songs play/pause/next? Given that the shuffle itself doesn't include the buttons, is that a surprise?

This would only be news if Apple were refusing to allow third party manufacturers to make iPod Shuffle compatible controls. And to my knowledge, they're not.

Garry said,
So, this isn't actually DRM in any way shape or form?

Also, it appears that third-party headphones need a special chip - although not a security chip - to make songs play/pause/next? Given that the shuffle itself doesn't include the buttons, is that a surprise?

This would only be news if Apple were refusing to allow third party manufacturers to make iPod Shuffle compatible controls. And to my knowledge, they're not.


The bad thing is Apple charges for the chip, so that'll jack the price up of the third-party earphones. Companies can't make earphones for the new shuffle unless they pay Apple to do so

Yeah, but wouldn't using that chip come at a cost? I wouldn't expect Apple to offer it for free as that would only help the competition. Judging by the way this "hardware DRM" locks other manufacturers out, this seems pretty dirty to me.

Then again, this whole Shuffle idea is absolutely balls if you ask me. Seems totally unnecessary for people to have to buy new headphones just to go jogging with their shuffle.

Apple suck big time. I love how everyone jumps at Microsoft, but at least they haven't sunken this low. I love some of Apples products, but they really need to sit back and realise they don't need to tie people into their products like this. People didn't buy the first generations of iPod's because they were forced to. Continue to make great products and people will continue to purchase. Lock them into buying your products and loose alot of faith.

SK[ said,] I love how everyone jumps at Microsoft, but at least they haven't sunken this low.


Unless I missed something, didn't the first gen Zunes NOT work with Microsoft's own Plays for Sure DRM?

roadwarrior said,
Unless I missed something, didn't the first gen Zunes NOT work with Microsoft's own Plays for Sure DRM?

Why would it matter now?

I love it. So Apple cripple a product like the Shuffle which had been, up until this point, lauded as a great little piece of engineering - and make consumers and 3rd party vendors pick up the tab for an arguably more frustrating and useless gimmick.

What is going on at Apple?! The UK price hike irked me enough, as did the distinctly underwhelming iMac updates. Then they go on and push draconian crap like this.

So, so disappointed. The comment ricknl made about Apple shooting themselves in the foot when they get popular seems to be right on the button. It seems like, quite frankly, they need to continuing making more mistakes so that they can take a step back and evaluate just exactly where they are.

what said,
"If it were Microsoft demanding that Xbox 360 peripherals all include Microsoft 'authentication chips' in order to work with the console, I'd think reviewers would be screaming about it."

ORLY? Clueless man is clueless.

And btw, first time I see apple copying Microsoft

undu said,
ORLY? Clueless man is clueless.

And btw, first time I see apple copying Microsoft ;)


Thats exactly what its like take the steve jobs/apple rose tinted glasses off and live in reality.

I can't believe Apple has done this with a once viable screenless MP3 player. The idea of true randomness in an MP3 player has pretty much been diminished - unless you're willing to use Apple headphones.

I'm one of the people who thinks the idea of a screenless MP3 player is intriguing, but not anymore.

This article does kind of state the obvious - you can't control the iPod without buttons to do so - but it's still a shame. I'm guessing what the article really gets it is that Apple needs to actually approve the controller. It's like the app store all over again, but for hardware accessories instead of software. Yes, it will ensure quality products, but it will filter some out as well. And they killed off the PRODUCT (RED)

Ambroos said,
Bad move... I hope the EU won't like this.

The EU already had a go at Apple in the past for the iPod earphones allowing 10db over the recommended limit.

DonC said,
The EU already had a go at Apple in the past for the iPod earphones allowing 10db over the recommended limit.


That ruling was the dumbest thing the EU has come up with. It had nothing to do with the earphones themselves, but with the volume limit on the iPod itself. Maybe YOU want to live in a society that thinks it has to play nanny to all of its citizens (more like subjects), but I certainly don't. The government has no right to tell me how loud I can listen to my music. Thank God I don't live in the EU!

roadwarrior said,
That ruling was the dumbest thing the EU has come up with. It had nothing to do with the earphones themselves, but with the volume limit on the iPod itself. Maybe YOU want to live in a society that thinks it has to play nanny to all of its citizens (more like subjects), but I certainly don't. The government has no right to tell me how loud I can listen to my music. Thank God I don't live in the EU!

The EU did it to stop thousands of kids from potentially going deaf. I'd say that's pretty reasonable. The EU is there to protect the consumers in the EU, and that's what they did.

Apple has a history of shooting themselves eventually in the foot once they get a bit popular. I don't think that this trend they are having at the moment will be any different.

WhoTheF said,
But you get the headphones with the iPod. What's the reason you guys wont buy the iPod?

Because the sound quality on Apple's stock earphones is diabolical. Sure they do the job, but even cheap alternatives sound much, much better.

WhoTheF said,
But you get the headphones with the iPod. What's the reason you guys wont buy the iPod?

What if I don't want to use those crappy headphones?

Oh wow, looks like a lot of you have had bad experience with the headphones. I seem to have found no problem with them, at least till now. I've been using them for years now.

If you try some other headphones in comparison you will notice that they suck. How expensive are they to replace? Because I know some £8 headphones which sound better (to me they do).

I tried Apple earphones before. They are uncomfortable and do not sound as good as the three other pairs in my house.

Also, users might want to connect the Shuffle to another system to play on louder speakers. With the old Shuffle and other iPods (and all other MP3 players!) this works really well, but on this new one, eh, fail.

Okay I guess all of you are too much into this. For me, all it matters is my iPod to deliver music into my ears. And I guess when my earphones wore out, I bought a new pair from 99c store. I mean how much of iPod do you use per day? I barely use it for workout and my car, that's about it.

Chris-Gonzales said,
ugly brown YUCK

Brown? There are no brown Zunes in production. The Zune 4 and Zune 8 both come in Black, Red, Pink, and Olive, and the 8 also comes in a nice shade of blue. The Zune 80 and Zune 120 come in Black and Red. There is no brown.

andrewbares said,
Yep, Zune all the way!


If you don't have something contructive to add to a news (either positive of negative) you know what to do ...

I've had a few customers ask for the new shuffle, initially interested.

Then they ask several questions.

'Is it easier to use than the previous shuffle?' - No.
'Is it bigger than any other shuffle in terms of capacity?' - No.
'Does it come in as many colours as the old shuffle?' - No.
'Is it cheaper than the old shuffle?' - No.
'Can I use the earphones I've got already?' - No.

And then theres the last question.

'Do you have any of the old shuffles in?' - YES!

Transaction complete!

What will you do when you have to answer the last question with a no?!!

I have to say this seems a catastrophic mistake on apple's part. I know they never saw the shuffle as some money making thing and only as a way to get people hooked and upgrade, but this really is a farse!

PureLegend said,
That's a lie.

Whoops. I could've sworn the older shuffle was in a 4GB flavour as well. Guess I was wrong there! Everything else was correct though. :P

jamesyfx said,
Whoops. I could've sworn the older shuffle was in a 4GB flavour as well. Guess I was wrong there! Everything else was correct though. :P

It was 1GB and 2GB, and they seem to have stopped selling the 2GB directly..

I also disagree with saying it's not as easy to use. That's a personal preference, I'd say.

What's the big deal? You can use any headphones, but if you want to push the buttons, the headphones need buttons on them.

Define "use any headphones". How are you supposed to get the damn thing to play when you plug in your own headphones that do not have controls?

Fanon said,
Define "use any headphones". How are you supposed to get the damn thing to play when you plug in your own headphones that do not have controls?


From my understanding the Shuffle will start playing as soon as you turn it on via the switch to either Shuffle or Continious play mode, but changing the volume won't be possible.

Martog said,
From my understanding the Shuffle will start playing as soon as you turn it on via the switch to either Shuffle or Continious play mode, but changing the volume won't be possible.

There is no buttons on the device at all.

Chris-Gonzales said,
There is no buttons on the device at all.

Yes there is, look again.

Besides, it turns on when you plug earphones in.

I have a feeling this will be for the better actually.

Maybe it will prevent people from buying other headphones, then saying "but I can't control the iPod now" or something stupid like that.

Tanshin said,
Maybe it will prevent people from buying other headphones, then saying "but I can't control the iPod now" or something stupid like that.

What? The authentication chip will do exactly that! People will buy other headphones, then say "but I can't control the iPod now".

Oh yes. And they'll be calling Apple tech support and stores. It's going to cost Apple a FORTUNE in people hours, which are a hell of a lot more costly than the profits they make off of something so disposably priced as the shuffle. BIG mistake here.

No, it doesn't say its a chip that interprets what the buttons are telling the device, it says its a D R M chip.
Digital Media Rights =/= Control Interface Chip

iFixit already stated standard headphones work with it. They'll need a special chip to access the remote control functions. That's hardly surprising though.

Xero said,
iFixit already stated standard headphones work with it. They'll need a special chip to access the remote control functions. That's hardly surprising though.

But his shuffle has no buttons on it. Therefore you need headphones with a remote.....

It will still play. Although I suppose you couldn't stop it.. Regardless it's not like Apple broke any rules, they created something new that other companies will have to create products for. The same headphones won't work on an iPhone, they may change the tracks but it won't have any of its unique features. While I agree no controls isn't the best move its not like they deliberately did it to **** people off.

Xero said,
It will still play. Although I suppose you couldn't stop it.. Regardless it's not like Apple broke any rules, they created something new that other companies will have to create products for. The same headphones won't work on an iPhone, they may change the tracks but it won't have any of its unique features. While I agree no controls isn't the best move its not like they deliberately did it to **** people off.

No, they just did it to make people spend more money, which is completely different.

Xero said,
It will still play. Although I suppose you couldn't stop it.. Regardless it's not like Apple broke any rules, they created something new that other companies will have to create products for. The same headphones won't work on an iPhone, they may change the tracks but it won't have any of its unique features. While I agree no controls isn't the best move its not like they deliberately did it to **** people off.

Apple have absolutely broken the rules. I use exclusively a certain model of Sony headphones because I wear headphones a lot, and they best suit my needs. But now Apple tells me that if I want a Shuffle (which I don't anyway) that I would have to use headphones of THEIR choice? No-one else is that insensitive to the consumer!

... What is the distortion field called now that SJ isn't in the front seat at the moment?

exactly... get a Sansa e200 series (v1) player so you can install Rockbox (www.rockbox.org) to it.

makes it so much better then and in recent updates it now supports USB and Battery Charging. so in other words you can directly transfer files to it's external memory card slot to LARGE memory cards (i.e. MicroSDHC) now ;)

p.s. im using the new bootloader for my e200 series and it works great... no need to boot original firmware for file transfers or battery charging anymore.... so with the new bootloader instead of it booting the original sansa firmware when the device is off and plugged into the USB port... it will now boot into Rockbox.

ThaCrip said,
exactly... get a Sansa e200 series (v1) player so you can install Rockbox (www.rockbox.org) to it.

makes it so much better then and in recent updates it now supports USB and Battery Charging. so in other words you can directly transfer files to it's external memory card slot to LARGE memory cards (i.e. MicroSDHC) now ;)

p.s. im using the new bootloader for my e200 series and it works great... no need to boot original firmware for file transfers or battery charging anymore.... so with the new bootloader instead of it booting the original sansa firmware when the device is off and plugged into the USB port... it will now boot into Rockbox.

Looks like I should get the new firmware, then! I'm still booting into the original to update files. Thanks!

-Vivicidal- said,

Looks like I should get the new firmware, then! I'm still booting into the original to update files. Thanks!

well you will need to update to the new bootloader in order to not have the Sansa boot the original firmware when it's in a off state and you connect the USB cable... which is nice because of the MicroSDHC support and it dont keep creating those annoying folders everytime it loads the sansa firmware since you never need to load the original firmware again for the most part as long as your Rockbox install dont get corrupted.

but once you get the new bootloader installed the device will always load Rockbox when powering up the e200 device.

you dont have to use the new bootloader to reap the benefits of the USB support and Battery charging though as you can just install a recent version of Rockbox over your current build and it will work... but i would use the new bootloader if i where you since there's no real need for the original firmware to boot at all now unless you have a specific need to like if the ".Rockbox" folder gets corrupted etc.

NOTE: once the v3.2 stable Rockbox is released which is due on March 23rd 2009 then im sure the bootloader etc etc will be easier to find on there website ;)

p.s. here is a link to the new bootloader... http://www.rockbox.org/tracker/task/9955?string=bootloader

to install it once you get the file do a ... 'sansapatcher.exe -a PP5022.mi4' (without the ') (i assume you already got the sansapatcher.exe file which you would have had to use in the past to install rockbox in the first place)

p.s. you can still boot the original firmware if you have to even after updating to the new bootloader by pressing (and holding) the LEFT button on it's d-pad when powering on the device.

ThaCrip said,
exactly... get a Sansa e200 series (v1) player so you can install Rockbox (www.rockbox.org) to it.

makes it so much better then and in recent updates it now supports USB and Battery Charging. so in other words you can directly transfer files to it's external memory card slot to LARGE memory cards (i.e. MicroSDHC) now ;)

p.s. im using the new bootloader for my e200 series and it works great... no need to boot original firmware for file transfers or battery charging anymore.... so with the new bootloader instead of it booting the original sansa firmware when the device is off and plugged into the USB port... it will now boot into Rockbox.

Finally someone that makes sense.

Let the RDF mayham begin.
And again, "Antitrust" only applies to Microsoft, It seems.
I wonder if the definition for Monopoly was adjusted to fit a single company alone.

How is Apple a monopoly? They control 10% of the desktop market, and have no control over audio formats. If someone wants to pay for Apple's DRM that's their problem, but if someone wants to use an alternative to Windows and still have access to essential Windows software they have no choice but to use Windows. Big difference.

It's not Microsoft's fault if a software developer decides to release Windows-only software.

Besides, how is Microsoft a monopoly? Last time I went computer shopping, I had the choice of Windows, OS X, Linux, or my eventual choice, a system without a preloaded OS.

toadeater said,
How is Apple a monopoly? They control 10% of the desktop market, and have no control over audio formats. If someone wants to pay for Apple's DRM that's their problem, but if someone wants to use an alternative to Windows and still have access to essential Windows software they have no choice but to use Windows. Big difference.

Its not that Apple is a monopoly persay. More like this is an antitrust kind'of action. Imagine if they did this for ALL of their products. They could seriously hurt a lot of the headphone competition that way. (Unless consumers wise up and buy Apple's competitors.)

toadeater said,
How is Apple a monopoly? They control 10% of the desktop market, and have no control over audio formats. If someone wants to pay for Apple's DRM that's their problem, but if someone wants to use an alternative to Windows and still have access to essential Windows software they have no choice but to use Windows. Big difference.


How is Apple not a monopoly? They utterly dominate the portable music player market.

It looks like they're trying to turn the portable media market into something more like the video game industry. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo charge companies a licensing fee to make accessories compatible with the Xbox, PS3, and Wii. Now Apple is trying to do the same with the iPod products. I have mixed feelings about this prospect... In the video game case we tend to accept this because those companies use the licensing revenue to subsidize the cost of the gaming hardware (that's why Sony sells the PS3 for so much less than it costs to make). But as far as I'm aware Apple is still raking in the profits from the iPod hardware AND the accessories AND the digital media.

toadeater said,
How is Apple a monopoly? They control 10% of the desktop market, and have no control over audio formats. If someone wants to pay for Apple's DRM that's their problem, but if someone wants to use an alternative to Windows and still have access to essential Windows software they have no choice but to use Windows. Big difference.


Seems you're in the wrong debate buddy... We're not talking about Apple vs Microsoft in the OS business. We all know Apple is not the monopoly desktop operating system... We're talking about the Portable Music player market (MP3 player) where they ARE the monopoly player.

A company can, as apple does, exist in more than one industry at a time and have different statuses in those respective industries...

toadeater said,
How is Apple a monopoly? They control 10% of the desktop market, and have no control over audio formats. If someone wants to pay for Apple's DRM that's their problem, but if someone wants to use an alternative to Windows and still have access to essential Windows software they have no choice but to use Windows. Big difference.

I thought this article was about an MP3 player? Also, I thought Apple dominated the MP3 payer market?

But seriously, it seems like the market will pretty much ignore it because it's an Apple product. If the Zune had something like that, it would be a huge issue.

Frazell Thomas said,
Seems you're in the wrong debate buddy... We're not talking about Apple vs Microsoft in the OS business. We all know Apple is not the monopoly desktop operating system... We're talking about the Portable Music player market (MP3 player) where they ARE the monopoly player.

A company can, as apple does, exist in more than one industry at a time and have different statuses in those respective industries...

I'm absolutely not trying to defend Apple here as I think this move with the Shuffle is completely, 100% wrong. But. I don't think Apple can be classed as a monopoly in the portable music player space because perfectly viable competition exists. More and more stores are doing DRM free MP3 as alternatives to AAC from the Apple store and there are equally decent MP3 players from people like Creative, Microsoft, etc - even built into your phone from people like Sony, Nokia, etc.

Microsoft was a monopoly in the OS space for a while because there was no viable alternative. MacOS had faded into near obscurity, Linux wasn't ready for the consumer at large.. stuff like OS/2 Warp had died off. If you wanted a new home computer, you got it with Windows. Period.

So I don't see Apple getting sued or something by anti-competition people over this. But to reiterate, I think it's a disgusting tactic!

But for those people, who buy an iPod shuffle, they are exercising their monopoly over the use of ear/headphones. There isn't much of an alternative for these people.

Chicane-UK said,


I'm absolutely not trying to defend Apple here as I think this move with the Shuffle is completely, 100% wrong. But. I don't think Apple can be classed as a monopoly in the portable music player space because perfectly viable competition exists. More and more stores are doing DRM free MP3 as alternatives to AAC from the Apple store and there are equally decent MP3 players from people like Creative, Microsoft, etc - even built into your phone from people like Sony, Nokia, etc.

Microsoft was a monopoly in the OS space for a while because there was no viable alternative. MacOS had faded into near obscurity, Linux wasn't ready for the consumer at large.. stuff like OS/2 Warp had died off. If you wanted a new home computer, you got it with Windows. Period.

So I don't see Apple getting sued or something by anti-competition people over this. But to reiterate, I think it's a disgusting tactic!


It is monopolistic because Apple commands a dominant market share in the Portable Media Player market (well above 70% I think) and they are using that monopoly status to stiffle competition.

Apple may roll this out on all of their future iPod products and they are essentially levying a tax on all headphones as the makers will need to put an Apple mandated chip on their devices to reach the majority of the market.

It was also the same argument used to declare Microsoft a monopoly. Sure viable competition has always existed for Microsoft. We've had Linux, Unix, Mac OS, BSD, and countless others for as long as anyone can remember. The argument was that Microsoft's market share was so high that they could dictate to OEMs the standards of computing hardware. After all, how could any OEM sell a computer that wasn't useful to the majority of the market? Consumers demand Windows so Microsoft didn't have to listen to OEMs.

Manish said,
But for those people, who buy an iPod shuffle, they are exercising their monopoly over the use of ear/headphones. There isn't much of an alternative for these people.

Let's hope people don't buy it. If I was naive enough to get stuck with something like that, I'd be so peeved at the dirty tactic I would probably never buy from that company again, even if their other products were great. I wonder if others would feel the same?

Everyone else is moving away from DRM of all kinds. This is regressive of Apple and will cost them sales and earn them a lot of ill will.