Feeds

Mystery chip found inside talking iPod Shuffle's earphones

Controller chip - or covert IP protection part?

The Power of One Infographic

Discovery of an as-yet-unidentified chip inside a dissected pair of new iPod Shuffle earphones has sparked rumours that the control-less player can only be driven by Apple-approved cans.

iPod Shuffle 3G

The mystery chip's located underneath the controller's three buttons

The chip – which carries the marking “8A83E3” on its surface – is, according to online reports, located underneath one of the three in-line click buttons that control how users access and play music on the latest iPod Shuffle.

But why is discovery of the chip so significant? If the chip confirms to the player that the connected controller is authorised by Apple, it locks out other companies from selling bargain basement Shuffle-compatible earphones.

Ordinary headphones don’t work with the latest Shuffle, because they don’t have the in-line click system required to control the player.

However, that hasn’t stopped third-party firms, such as Scosche Industries, from developing alternative cans for the new Shuffle.

But the price of such goods could be affected if manufacturers first have to license authentication technology from Apple in order to make their cans work with the player.

Such a move wouldn't be without precedent: past iPods have contained authentication chips to prevent knock-off docks ripping off Apple technology. That might be good for the protection of the company's intellectual property rights, but it doesn't help punters whose old docks stop working fully when they're connected to a new iPod.

That said, it's entirely possible that the chip is simply there to ensure that in-line single-, double- and triple-clicks are signalled to the player. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.