updated 05:50 pm EDT, Mon March 16, 2009
Apple refutes DRM claims
Apple has refuted recent claims that the new iPod shuffle integrates DRM technology to prevent third-party companies from making compatible products without paying fees. iLounge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation noted the presence of a chip behind the buttons on the in-line controls, leading to the presumption that the component provided authentication for the signal.
The EFF argued that an authentication chip would serve as a method to prevent third-party companies from reverse engineering the technology. The report described a potential "nightmare scenario" where Apple controlled all aspects of iPods and accessories, using DRM and the DMCA laws to drive profits.
Apple provided more details of the system to Boing Boing, claiming that there is no encryption on the "control chip", which would leave the door open for third-party manufacturers to produce clones. The company has a licensing option, however, that offers to sell developers the chip and microphone in a bundle, as part of the Made for iPod program.
It remains unclear if the manufacturers would be prohibited from using unlicensed parts in the Made for iPod accessories.