iPhone accessories to include Apple 'DRM chip'

The iPhone 3.0 firmware promised us communication from firmware to accessories connected via either bluetooth or the dock connector. However, it has come to Neowin's attention through a reliable source that Apple will require these accessories to use the DRM chip found in the iPod shuffle.

On the iPod shuffle, this restriction was only placed on 'Made for iPod' products. However, in the case of the iPhone and iPod touch, the accessories will communicate directly with the software. Apple has essentially moved their 'app store'-style approval process to hardware accessories. The chip, which much be licensed from Apple for a fee, ensures that Apple has actually approved the hardware.

This does explain the appearance of the chip in the iPod shuffle, however it will make it that much more difficult for potential accessory developers on the iPhone and iPod touch to utilize software.

We have received this information through a source at Apple. This source has provided information for us before; however, we do not guarantee its accuracy.

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You don't need to have the hardware chip to add extra functionality. It can be handled in software i.e the OS. Imagine if you manufacture a hardware that you want to work with Windows but in order for it to work, you have to buy the Microsoft chip. It's ridiculous. Apple knows that they can get away with it because of the popularity of the Iphones and Ipods. It doesn't matter how anti-developer they are, developers will still be interested because of the market that Apple has.

And you can't be anti-developer if you attract the most developers.

You COULD do anything in software; Apple is providing a convenient, firmly established spec for a family of devices that will remain consistent and popular for years to come at a small cost in exchange for eliminating the grief of trying to develop that software that will somehow achieve what Apple makes easy over usb.

I would also ask: why is a hardware requirement any more ridiculous than a software requirement? Doesn't Microsoft require ActiveSync licensing? Use of the lousy MTP protocol? Etc...

You guys are completely misunderstanding this.

You can continue to use your headphones and bluetooth headsets. It only means that if you want a hardware device to add extra functionality to the iPhone (Example: Nike Sensor) then you have to have the chip.

Why? So the iPhone knows what device your using and so the iPhone can load up your software.

They are not telling you what you can and can't do.

They are telling me that I cant use my own brand of headphones with the new Shuffle...that's telling me what to do....so I will not buy it, simple.

The iPod Shuffle was designed to be easier to use for the elderly user. Controls being moved to the headphones couldn't just be done, it needed to transfer data back to the iPod Shuffle when a button was pressed on the headphones, so they created a chip. They discourage people from using another pair of headphones, and nobody currently uses an iPod Shuffle for stereo speakers as the popularity of them use the dock connector and the iPod Shuffles including the old and new one, don't have a dock connector. Because many use their iPod Shuffle for walks in the park and working out, and they also expect everything to come with the iPod Shuffle ready to be used, they sacrificed something that doesn't really matter to anyone.

This so called DRM chip you put in quotes in the article title, is just for people who really need headphones other than the ones that come with the iPod Shuffle and so use another pair of headphones that were designed for the iPod Shuffle. It ensures it has complete compatibility with the iPod Shuffle so there isn't a chance that it doesn't have a button that helps makes playlists or something similar. If you use regular headphones with your iPod Shuffle, you just can't control over half of the controls of the iPod Shuffle, but you still can listen to your music.

They took this great, so called DRM chip they had made for the iPod Shuffle, and put it in the next iPhone and iPod Touch I am assuming from what has been said. The chip will only limit you from using iPhone accessories that use the dock connector that are designed to integrate with specially designed apps for the accessory but haven't been licensed. But because this feature isn't even out yet, it can't be a limitation, when iPhone accessories that take advantage of apps on the iPhone and iPod Touch start coming out, they will all be licensed as they know now, and probably knew before.

All accessories will be functional, even with the chip, this only affects accessories that integrate with iPhone OS 3.0 and use special apps to control the accessory. So if you have a speaker system for your iPhone, it will work, but the newer speaker systems designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch might feature equalizers and volume controls that adjust the accessory right from the iPhone or iPod Touch, they need to be licensed to function, and who wouldn't expect that.

Stop misunderstanding, this DRM chip does a whole lot more than you would expect, you will be able to use your bluetooth headsets just like you could before, but if the accessory had an app that could control the accessory, then it needs the chip. It has always been this with the Nike Sensor. They are just now enabling it through the SDK and through this chip for other companies to do the same.

In this sense, this DRM chip enables additional functionality from the iPhone OS.

DRM in songs also allow you to play songs and videos. Technically you shouldn't be able to do so. The DRM software is an enabler to allow you to play them!


There was enough outrage when the Shuffle first included this chip, but there was at least an attempt to explain it. Now, the iPhone must have it too?

Apple is smart though, they know that software DRM is so easily crackable, they go for hardware DRM to seal their control over their "partners" and "customers".

Gotta love it...over priced and now they are telling you what you can or cannot do. This is good news for companies like Creative, Sandisk, MS, and other companies that make music players.

Ha, ha!! Yeah, great news: Apple can now enable virtually any type of device you can conceive of as a developer with their mobile platform: blood analyzer, bar code reader, keyboard, pressure gauge, dynomometer, etc... This will help the Zune because the thousands of iPod/iPhone developers who gladly pay Apple now to make cheap docks will resist making completely new devices for the same fee. Right!

It'll get a lot of people angry if that is the case, and for Apple, another reason to make more money buy using their stuff only.. grr..

This will likely not apply to headphones, however that is purely speculation. The problem on the shuffle was with the controller on the headphones, being the only way to control the volume. On the iPhone, there are different ways to do so.