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Apple claims no DRM protection on Shuffle controls

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Told ya...

    It's probably just a serial or PWM chip.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iLounge, Blah

    This site use to be pretty good. Lately though, and their review of the new shuffle is a perfect example, they've become overly emotional and it comes through in their writing. Had the actually done their research they would have identified the mystery chip for what it was - it was only yesterday after all. Their product matrix is a complete mess as well.Oh, for the record, I really use to like this site.

  1. tonton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Knock-off accessories

    Well at least we know the Chinese knock-off companies won't have any issues with the new Shuffle, then.

    Too bad knock-off headphones always sound like horrible c***.

  1. EternalGuest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This should really be an eye opener for those people who love to jump to conclusions. Anyone who is part of the EFF should be intelligent enough to learn more about a product before attacking it.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Of course, people

    enjoy jumping to conclusions even if they don't know what the h*** they're talking about. Gotta be the first to pan something from Apple. It's only natural.

    They see a chip and they're sure right away Apple is starting a conspiracy to s**** the world and it's customers from getting anything close to compatible. I used to buy Sony Walkman devices and I'd use the headphones for a couple of years and never worried about losing them or breaking them.

    These worrywarts don't even have the product and they're complaining about the unfairness of the whole Shuffle remote/headphones thing. Damn, these people need a life.

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969


    stupid headline

    "Apple claims"? How about "Apple refutes baseless speculation"

  1. tsmelker

    Joined: Dec 1969


    well, DUH!

    The only surprise here is that Apple even bothered to dignify this ridiculous idea with a response.

  1. doctor9

    Joined: Dec 1969


    so what on a so what

    A great ending for a "mountain out of mole hill" incident. That this "incident" was even worth getting upset about in the first place is ridiculous. It was the perfect fodder for those who feel like anything Apple or anyone who buys Apple products (

  1. ccrider

    Joined: Dec 1969



    man i tell ya - lotsa uptight peeps around these last couple days. Got chewed one on iLounge for actually defending the shuffle with backlash like "proprietary this" and "DRM chip that" and "holy mother of god how am i going to survive without my target headphones". Geeesh - It's a freakin' shuffle: the lowest priced iPod made for casual listening. It happens to come with some cool headphones with inline controls. Fsck this whole thing.

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    doggone it

    ya mean it's not a sinister plot?

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