Old inline iPod/iPhone adapters don't work in new Shuffle

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Earlier today, Cory spotted iLounge and the EFF's report on Apple's apparent inclusion of hardware DRM in its new headphones -- a measure that would effectively make it illegal to make shuffle-compatible headphones without Apple approval.

If nothing else, the Shuffle's inline control interface definitely isn't the same as that used in iPhones and other iPods. The Griffin SmartTalk inline iPod headphone controls pictured here don't work, for example, in the 3rd-gen Shuffle. They have the same triple-ringed version of the headphone plug and nearly identical functionality, but do nothing.

People have asked a few times what happens if you just plug standard headphones into the Shuffle. The answer is that nothing happens at all. However, if you turn the Shuffle off then on again, it will automatically start playing--but with no controls to pause, skip, fast forward or rewind. Interface Zen!

Published by Rob Beschizza

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30 Comments

  1. Yeah, this is essentially what I blogged about the thing. I didn’t bring this up on my site, but it’s especially irritating that Apple is doing this as I find Apple headphones to be particularly uncomfortable.

  2. Well I’m not going to waste my money on something that won’t work in a few years when they stop making the stupid headphones and I’ve lost my last pair.

  3. Now they just have to incorporate a serial number so users can’t exchange or replace earphones.

    That, and a hidden superglue dispenser that bonds the earbuds permanently to the eardrums.

  4. I’ll be interested to see whether this reduced versatility actually affects sales. I’m guessing that the majority of consumers of Apple music players won’t care that they’re locked into proprietary replacements and will use the stock headphones. By the time replacements for those are needed, Gen 4 will be out and the upgrade to New and Improved will win out over replacement earspeakers.
    A few people will be inconvenienced but hey, that’s progress Apple style.

  5. @5: Monopole—who says they can’t tie the earphones to the player? Lots of people run the non-free MacOS and Windows OSes which run the non-free iTunes software. This is a perfect conduit by which Apple can grant or take away anything they want including changing iPod Shuffle software and tying a particular pair of iPod Shuffle earphones to a particular player iPod Shuffle device.

    Imagine, if you break or lose those earphones you can register your current earphones (or be chastised for not having done so already), call Apple, supply your registration information, pay for a new pair (which are bound to be expensive), and 5-8 weeks later you get a new pair of sub-par earbuds which can be paired to your player. Apple would limit this to 3 fixes for no good reason, just like they do with their iTunes track replacements (even if you lost all of your iTunes track purchases because you did what Apple told you to do and ran “Apple Software Update”).

    All the more reason to only deal in free software, all the time. You can’t treat your customers or friends like this when they have software freedom because they aren’t helpless to help themselves. They can go anywhere (techie friend, neighbor, the Internet, a user’s group, etc.) to get help and use the headphones they want to use the whole time. I recommend looking into devices that work with Rockbox.

  6. Seriously Apple…. Jobs leaves for 3 months, and you go and put out one of the worst products in the company’s history.

    Maybe people are justified in fearing what Apple might do without Jobs at the helm.

    I love my 1GB 2nd-gen shuffle. It’s small, cheap, has a good battery, and a neat clip-thing that comes in handy at the gym.

    There was absolutely no reason to make the thing any smaller, short of building the player directly into the headphones! The 3-button UI also looks like it’d be maddeningly perplexing to use. Have Apple been reading The Onion a bit too seriously?

  7. Check out the patent database for apple, griffin, kensington work. Verification is what it’s all about. Unless I license from apple the pod don’t play nice with my stuff. DIY, for suckers. Counterfeit, better counterfeit the whole dang device. Everyone else line up and bring yr own vaseline…or we’ll sue you back to the stone age of earlier less crippled devices. Personally I think that the new gen stuff is going to drive up the desirability of the older gen stuff, of course what the heck do I know

  8. Hopefully Apple learns from the negative press and hopefully bad sales. That aside, I’m sure someone will figure out a hack soon. : )

  9. …Now do you kids understand why I refer to these bozos as (cr)Apple?

    [shakes head in utter disgust]

  10. People make compromises everyday when purchasing. I do not expect my 10 year old Ford Ranger to have swappable parts with my new one. Technology advances and companies have the right to innovate. You also have the right to keep your money in your pockets. Keep in mind how backwards compatibility has worked for a company like Microsoft.

  11. Yeah – stop bitching.

    We should all be more like Jason Chen of Gizmodo, who’d be willing to pay $100 for a 3rd party solution to the headphones, with better controls. It’s an $80 player.

    I love Apple, but this is stupidity. And it’s a screen-less mp3 player that speaks song names. Let’s all just move along.

  12. @#13 fayska
    Bit of a dodgy analogy there, you’re comparing internal components to external accessories.

    A better one would be your new Ford Ranger having a stereo slot and cigarette lighter socket that will only accept/charge new ford branded items solely due to a new DRM chip being added to prevent any competition

  13. I’m just gonna keep wishing for it…

    But i’m not gonna become a slave of those crappy headphones, i mean, the sound quality is awful, besides theyre expensive and hell unconfortable… Nope, theyre not for me

    Por mi que se vayan a la @&&”! Y que se metan sus audifonos por el %^%*!!!

  14. But i’m not gonna become a slave of those crappy headphones, i mean, the sound quality is awful, besides theyre expensive and hell unconfortable… Nope, theyre not for me Homeschool

  15. the first that jumped into my mind:

    headphone damaged = bye bye to your dispositive

    not a wise move with this new one

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