iPod Buds DRM-Free

By Mike on 7:40 pm

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There was a rumour going around that Apple's new buds for the Shuffle G3 contained an authentication chip that would essentially limit the device to only Apple approved accessories. The rumour appeared on several credible tech sites such as CNET and EFF. I never took this rumour seriously until I was looking through iFixIt's disassembly of the Shuffle again. They took apart the new buds and revealed the shocking truth............... there is no authentication chip. Some other pictures of the board clearly show a chip. However, the chip in question is most likely just a controller for the buttons on the buds. It's a pretty standard piece of electronics and it's quite obvious what it's for to anybody with any electronic knowledge. The report originally appeared on iPod site iLounge and Boing Boing Gadgets but spread across the Internet like wildfire. iLounge took a strong stance against the supposed DRM chip.

This is, in short, a nightmare scenario for long-time iPod fans: are we entering a world in which Apple controls and taxes literally every piece of the iPod purchase from headphones to chargers, jacking up their prices, forcing customers to re-purchase things they already own, while making only marginal improvements in their functionality? It’s a shame, and one that consumers should feel empowered to fight.

They even took the opportunity to take a swipe at Apple stating that they were abusing journalists and forcing them to post only favourable reviews of their products.

Apple has now decided to “punish” buzzkillers—journalists who the company doesn’t consider friendly enough to its marketing mission. And by “punish,” we mean to say that this specific word is used to refer to what happens if someone has said something Apple doesn’t approve of. ... And Apple’s upset because we’ve been telling our readers too much—and constantly taking your side, rather than Apple’s, whenever the company is in the wrong. We do this proudly. And we’re not going to apologize for it."

Sounds like iLouge has a vendetta against Apple. It sure got the Electronics Frontier Foundation riled up enough, with them praising iLounge for their efforts to stop DRM. I'm a fan of what the EFF does but they really dropped the ball on this one, along with a lot of other tech sites. Apple has confirmed that there is no authentication chip for accessories in the Suffle G3 or any other iPod. Accessory makers Monster Cable and V-Moda confirmed this. One of the problems with the Internet is that it's so easy for false stories like this to spread. As usual, nothing to see here, move along people.

Source: EFF, BoingBoing Gadgets, PC Magazine, Gizmodo

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