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Update — No DRM In New iPod Shuffle 264

Posted by kdawson
from the nothing-to-see-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes "BoingBoing Gadgets has updated their story from yesterday on DRM contained in the new iPod Shuffle. (We also discussed this rumor last week.) It's a false alarm. There is a chip in the headphone controls but it is just an encoder chip. There is no DRM and no reason to believe that third party headphones wouldn't work with the new Shuffle. (Apple would still prefer you to license the encoder under the Made for iPod program, but with no DRM, there is no DMCA risk to a manufacturer reverse engineering it.) The money quote: 'For the record, we do not believe that the new iPod headphones with in-line remote use DRM that affects audio playback in any way.'"
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Update — No DRM In New iPod Shuffle

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  • by abhi_beckert (785219) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @02:55AM (#27222105)

    Why does it always get so complicated every time Apple try to reinvent simplicity?

    The whole point of electronics is to take something really complicated and make it simple. "Made for XXX" is a perfect example of taking something complicated and making it simple:

          I have an iPod, I need something with "Made for iPod"

    vs

          I have an iPod, I need something with a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a button with a chip capable of sending the right signals to my iPod.

    Lots of other companies do "made for xxx" stickers, and it takes time to certify that something really is compatible, so you have to charge for it, even if you're not looking for a new revenue stream.

  • by ricelid (1383657) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @03:13AM (#27222173)
    I was just thinking about buying an iPod shuffle. Good thing I read this article that reminds me that I have to use the headphones that come with it, and I don't like those headphones nearly as much as I like my headphones. Hmm, I could probably splice the cable without tooo much trouble.
  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @03:42AM (#27222289) Journal

    The problem is I don't believe it was an honest mistake, so I'd rather they didn't lie in the first place.

    As I said, present your evidence.

    As to evidence: I'd point to the fact that they had no evidence whatsoever to back-up their claim and yet they made it any way.

    As has been pointed out to you, there were other sites reporting the same.

    The onus isn't on me.

    Actually it is, since you're the one accusing them of lying with no evidence. They may have said something that turned out to be wrong but they've retracted it. You still insist on accusing them with no proof and nothing to back you, yet you don't seem to realise the irony.

  • by Killer Orca (1373645) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @04:15AM (#27222435)

    On a side note, I wonder if the EFF is going to retract their statement, or issue some sort of apology...

    They already have http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/apple-adds-still-more-drm-ipod-shuffle [eff.org]

  • by p0tat03 (985078) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @04:55AM (#27222579)

    Very well, then I will accuse BoingBoing and any other sites who reported on this to be grossly incompetent at basic first-year electrical engineering.

    Anyone can figure this, even yours truly (who isn't even trained as an electrical engineer: Apple has added extra pins to the headphone jack in order to support things as simple as a single-button headset control on the iPhone. Clearly it was not feasible for Apple to keep just adding pins onto a short headphone jack in the hopes of cramming more buttons in.

    It's patently obvious that in this case, given the number of buttons and gestures that the Shuffle supports, there needs to be more complex signals than merely having button-mapped pins into the device. And lo and behold, this is exactly what it turned out to be - an encoder chip so that the input signals can be fed into the Shuffle.

    Anyone even familiar with rudimentary electronics would come to this conclusion at first glance. To go the "OMG DRM" route was either trolling, or sheer incompetence.

  • Re:Simplicity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @06:15AM (#27222835)

    And so will the shuffle. Plug in 3.5mm headphones, turn on, listen to music.

  • by Archimonde (668883) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:13AM (#27223973) Homepage

    mobby_6ki answered you pretty well, but I wanted to connect my post (the post you are replying to) and his post.

    The problem is that the shuffle *doesn't* have any hardware controls (aside from on/off) on the the unit itself. The controls are *only* on the right earbud cable. Why is this a problem? Because there is no other way besides an adapter (*sold separately*) or "made for shuffle" earphones. That is the biggest problem. The consumer doesn't have a clear choice in headphones. The shuffle out of the box can't be used with normal headphones (that was my point with magsafe-like connector). If they included the adapter you probably wouldn't see this or my previous post. But the adapter isn't included so eventually you have additional cost after you bought the shuffle. And that is lock-in.

    Let me be clear about this, I hate proprietary stuff and the consumer is always the one paying for it, be it through money or lack of choice. I wouldn't say a word if the headphone market is non-existent and there aren't independent manufacturers. But that market clearly exists and lets say some manufacturer made headphones1, headphones2, and headphones3. But shuffle comes out and their competitor is going to release "made for shuffle" certified headphones. So our mentioned manufacturer has to produce say headphones1 "made for shuffle" and pay apple for the certification. And who is footing the bill for certification? Users who bought those headphones of course.

    I hate lock-in from sony, apple, iriver, whatever. But apple has huge market share (not a monopoly though) so when sony releases some locked-in stuff, pretty much nobody blinks. But with apple this isn't the case which is completely understandable.

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