Mystery chip found inside talking iPod Shuffle's earphones
Controller chip - or covert IP protection part?
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.
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. ®
Doctorow's FUD machine runs wild
Cory Doctorow and an EFF buddy concocted this and got it all over Boing Boing and from there most of the internet without even doing the bare minimum of investigation. Which they didn't do because they didn't want to find out there was nothing in their conspiracy theory before they had started the internet rolling on this.
Turns out it is just a controller chip for the buttons and you only have to apply for a license to use it in you product if you want the "designed for iPod" sticker on your product. There is no encryption involved so reverse engineering is fair game. Boing Boing are already well into disaster recovery mode (Doctorow is no where to be seen mind) and blaming everyone else for their lack of journalistic integrity. Which I guess is to be expected as they are just a bunch of bloggers and not proper journalists. Not like you guys. ;)
But don't feel too bad though. Half the internet has fallen for it. It will all be brushed under the carpet and forgotten about by tomorrow and nobody will mention it again. Then everyone will sit back and wait for the Copyleft Demagogue to issue another call to arms.
Apple has gone way beyond taking the piss.
Fanboys are now the beaten wife pathetically defending their husband:
"But he says he loves me!"
I'll just get my non-fruit-related MP3 player.
iLounge were right
It's a chip then, not a resistor and hence this iPod cannot be used with normal devices unless you pay extra for a special cable.
What a piece of junk.
If there is a chip, there must be some form of multiplexing going on because it will need some power. I suggest that common ground, left, right, power, and control signal. But there are tricks with variable DC offsets that could be applied, and it is possible to use one line for both power and control signal, but common ground would be easier.
Could this not be a new mechanism by which Jobs' mob will control the minds of their slaves?