New iPod shuffle requires headphones with an authentication chip

The folks over at iLounge stumbled upon some curious info regarding the new iPod Shuffle that has us scratching our heads. We all know the controls for the new Shuffle are on the headphones, but apparently Cupertino decided to make it even more difficult for headphone makers to get in on some Shuffle action. Control of playback and adjustment of volume will not be permitted unless the headphones used are equipped with an Apple authentication chip. D’oh! To further complicate matters, headphones with this new authentication chip are not yet available. Phooey, you say, I will pair my high-end headphones with a third party remote control device instead. Denied! Third party remotes with this authentication chip are not yet available either. Until these new accessories hit the market, shuffle owners are stuck using the stock headphones for the time being. What is Apple’s reasoning behind the move? We’re not sure, though we imagine it has to do with ensuring Apple can prevent companies from producing Shuffle gear without its blessing. Good job Apple, now it’ll cost less-than-scrupulous manufacturers overseas an extra 7¢ per unit to make compatible headphones. Major fail.

[Via EFF]

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