It gets worse. Apple requires any 3rd party headphones for the iPod shuffle have an authentication chip to be compatible, according to iLounge and Engadget. This means higher costs for 3rd party headphone makers. Given that the Shuffle is relatively inexpensive, it is ironic you won’t be able to use inexpensive 3rd party headphones with it. This bogus proprietary technology requirement is a big step backward for Apple. Although many folks only use their Apple earbuds that come with iPods, getting a cheap replacement for the Shuffle’s headphones won’t be likely. The move even prompted former Engadget guru Ryan Block (now of gdgt) to speculate that Apple may implement the same nonsense on all its future iPods. Let’s hope not, otherwise a consumer backlash is possible.
My take - why didn’t Apple take the high road and use the standard for music player controls that already exists on many headphones?
[Note: iLounge gives a fairly negative review of the new Shuffle - surprising given they are typically Apple cheerleaders.]